Franklin County volunteers are packing up hundreds of dresses and heading to tornado-ravaged West Liberty to make sure the girls there have a proper prom despite the chaos.
Amy Nance is coordinator of Cinderella’s Closet, a local effort to give free prom dresses and accessories to low-income teens.
Nance says a teacher at Morgan County High School called her after finding the organization online. She said every girl in the school – about 200 of them – needed a dress in time for prom April 14.
She was worried there wouldn’t be enough dresses because girls in Franklin and surrounding counties had already picked theirs earlier this month.
But that wasn’t a problem, Nance said. Cinderella’s Closet had about 500 dresses leftover, a result of generous, year-round donations from the community since the program started three years ago.
Cinderella’s Closet in Northern Kentucky and a similar organization in Louisville also gave some extra dresses, Nance said.
“When you think about girls that have been through a life-changing experience, we wanted to let them know that we care about them, we love them, and we want them to be able to have a prom,” she said.
“Their town has completely changed, and it will never be the same. We just wanted to provide some stability and normalcy for the girls.”
The tornadoes did not significantly damage Morgan County High School, so the prom will go on as planned in the cafeteria. Nance says school administrators hope to give the kids at least one normal night, a break from their new reality.
“They have students who do not have houses, and there were six fatalities that some of their students watched happen,” she said.
“They just started back to school (Monday), and it was difficult for the teachers to even talk to me – they are still in so much shock and trauma.”
Nance visited West Liberty for the first time Tuesday.
“Everybody has a story,” she said.
“When you drive through their downtown area, it’s completely gone – there’s no building that’s untouched.”
Nance is looking for donations of jewelry, shoes and snacks. Monetary contributions and volunteers are also needed.
Here’s how to help:
>Donate new or gently used dress shoes in a variety of sizes. Silver, black, gold or clear shoes are preferred.
>Give money to help with the purchase of shoes. Checks should be made out to First United Methodist Church with Cinderella’s Closet in the memo.The church address is 211 Washington St.,Frankfort, KY 40601.
>Donate new or used rhinestone jewelry. Organizers need 200 sets – bracelet, earrings, and necklace. Longer necklaces for plus-size girls are especially needed, Nance said. Donations should be dropped off at the First United Methodist Church office ASAP (deadline is Wednesday, March 28).
>Give large bags of candy. Nance said organizers want to give each girl a goody bag, which will include individually wrapped candy andsuckers. This should be dropped off at the church office by Friday.
>Volunteer. Nance says she needs 60 volunteers to travel to West Liberty the day of the event – about half that many have already signed up.
Volunteers will work approximately six hours straight to assist 200 girls. Volunteers need to bring a case (12- or 24-pack) of water and/or drinks to share and their own personal snacks.Sandwiches will be provided for lunch.
Volunteers can register online later this week. Check the website www.cinderellasclosetusa.org after Wednesday to see if registration is open.
>Donate to the Morgan County High School Youth Services Center. The center helps students with needs like food, clothing and school supplies.
Coordinator Alicia McClurg says the best way to help the center is to donate through a fund set up by a local bank. Donations can be sent online at www.bankofthemountains.com or at the following address:
Morgan County Christian Social Services
c/o Bank of the Mountains
PO Box 309
West Liberty, KY 41472.