'Fairy godmother' collects dresses - Catholic Courier

‘Fairy godmother’ collects dresses

Prom season is rapidly approaching, and many teenage girls will soon be dressed up in fancy, expensive gowns, ready for a night of romance and fun. After prom night, however, many of those dresses will be relegated to the far corners of closets, never to be worn again.

Because of the costs of gowns, shoes and accessories – in addition to the costs of tickets and transportation-many girls will never be able to experience the prom. There are some “fairy godmothers” in the Diocese of Rochester, however, who are hoping to change that.

Dawn Burdick, youth minister at St. Mary’s Parish in Canandaigua, is collecting used prom dresses to give to girls in need. Several weeks ago, she read that Yolanda Ortiz, religious-formation coordinator at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Rochester, was collecting gently used prom dresses to donate to Fairy Godmothers of Greater Rochester, which is a branch of the Pennsylvania-based Fairy Godmothers Inc.

The mission of Fairy Godmothers Inc., according to its Web site, is to help provide prom gowns, shoes and accessories to high-school girls who would not be able to otherwise experience their proms due to financial situations.

Burdick thought that was a good idea, and that women in the Finger Lakes area might be able to donate their dresses. She announced in the parish’s April 11 bulletin that she was looking for donations of prom dresses and jewelry that could be used to help inner-city girls attend their proms.
By April 20 Burdick had already received a dozen dresses and at least 15 phone calls and e-mails from people interested in donating a dress. About half of the calls and e-mails have been from women in college, and the other half have been from older women, Burdick said. By the time they attend college, women seem to have less sentimental attachment to their prom dresses, she added.

“I had been thinking for a while that it would be nice to do a dress exchange” for young ladies in the parish, Burdick said, but several of the teens in her youth group said they thought they were too attached to their dresses to part with them.

Not all of the dresses that Burdick has received so far are the type a teenager would wear to a high-school prom, Burdick said, but she’s not going to turn anything away.

Some are just fancy dresses; others are several decades old, and while Burdick said they’re not cut out for prom dresses, they won’t go to waste. Anything that can’t be used for the prom will be donated to the clothing room of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society, which provides clothes, household items and toys to the needy free of charge.

Burdick said she’ll keep some of the prom dresses for girls in need in her own area, and will most likely donate the rest to Fairy Godmothers of Greater Rochester. She plans to keep collecting dresses as long as people are willing to donate them, even after the prom season is over.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information or to donate a dress or accessory, contact Dawn Burdick at 585/394-1220.

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