Local initiative offering free formal dresses to local girls



Tiffany Reynolds realizes formal dresses can be expensive.

She said some prom dresses can cost several hundred dollars. Having worked in retail for 25-plus years, she also has seen women spend $1,200 on a dress at a high-end clothing store and not think anything of it.

Not everyone has that luxury, she said.

That’s why she has organized a formal dress giveaway through the The Helping Hearts initiative.

Since mid-January, she has been collecting short and long dresses of a variety of colors, sizes and styles. She wound up with nearly 100.

“Everybody here is kind of working middle class, and sometimes, it’s hard for parents to take care of everything they need to take care of at home and provide those extras,” she said. “When everybody steps in and does it together, it just makes it so much easier for everyone.”

On Feb. 22, she conducted a giveaway event in the cafetorium at Crothersville Community Schools. Even though it didn’t go as well as she hoped, Reynolds is still determined to give the dresses away to local girls who need them with prom and other formal dances coming up.

“By doing something like this for the girls, it will alleviate some of the financial pressure for parents,” Reynolds said. “Maybe their daughter wants to go get her hair done before the prom, but if they bought a prom dress, they couldn’t do that. Maybe she wants a manicure or pedicure or something like that so that she’s able to go.”

Several of the dresses that were donated are brand-new and still have the tags attached. One of Reynolds’ friends didn’t have a dress to donate, so she bought a new one and took it by her house. Then Saturday, a woman brought one of her daughter’s dresses to add to the collection.

“I had posted a timeline of things that we wanted to do as a group, and the prom event was one of them, so people knew ahead of time that, ‘Hey, here’s what we’re preparing for,’” Reynolds said.

She started The Helping Hearts in November 2018 as a communitywide project to help the students of Crothersville Community Schools with items needed for school.

A back-to-school event allowed students to pick out a backpack and any clothing or shoes they needed at no cost, and more than 200 winter coats were given out through a winter clothing drive.

“That was pretty big, and those were donations from not only in our community but people in surrounding communities just reaching out saying, ‘Hey, we have these items,’” Reynolds said.

Also, around 80 families benefited from a clothing giveaway set up inside a shop in town.

“Those are mainly from Crothersville, but we had so much left over, we just opened it up to surrounding communities,” she said.

One woman from out of town came by and picked out like-new clothes that she could wrap and give to her children for Christmas. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have received anything for the holiday.

“She was extremely thankful,” Reynolds said.

She also had several people in town come in to get items for their kids and at the same time donate a few bags of clothes they had outgrown.

Reynolds said it has been great to see people respond to her Facebook posts requesting specific needs for local children.

“We had a specific need for something, I post it and within four or five minutes, I had somebody say, ‘Oh, I have this. I can donate this. Do you know someone that can use this?’” she said. “It was really nice to be able to do that.”

The Helping Hearts also has a Spare Change Challenge underway. All money collected will be donated to Crothersville Community Schools to pay off students’ outstanding lunch account balances and book rental fees.

Collection buckets are at Crothersville Town Hall, Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor and Cerrowire, all in Crothersville.

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For information about The Helping Hearts, visit facebook.com/thehelpingheartsofcrothersville.


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