With a dash of magic and a hefty dose of love, the 11th annual Cinderella’s Closet is set to give every princess a special prom.
The program’s annual prom dress giveaway will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1100 W. Highland Blvd., Inverness.
“Our goal is to make each young lady feel ‘Priceless,’ our 2018 Cinderella theme, inspired by the song ‘Priceless’ by For King and Country,” said Dana Davis, one of the event coordinators.
Cinderella’s Closet is an outreach ministry of Cornerstone Baptist Church, with a mission to provide a prom dresses, accessories and services to the young ladies in Citrus County. However, this year they aren’t just helping high schools in Florida — they’re donating some day-wear to women in the Philippines.
“Last year we gave out 139 dresses, and passed on over 500 dresses to other local ministries,” Davis said. “In the last 10 years, we have given out over 1,300 dresses. This year we have around 1,300 dresses to give away, and we are so thrilled.”
Also, they have about 80 Gorgeous Girl (size 20+) blingy and elegant dresses.
Each year, high school girls receive a free prom dress, chosen from a selection of more than 1,000. They also get to choose from 200 pairs of shoes, a collection of handbags and trays of jewelry, all at no cost to them.
The day of their prom, the girls also have their hair, makeup and nails done, as well as have a chance to sign up for self- defense classes offered by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Juan Santiago.
“On prom days, we like to make our girls feel like the princesses they truly are,” said co- director Melinda Ferguson. “We will be offering a true spa experience — refreshments, nail painting, facials, professional hair and makeup done by professional cosmetologists generously donating their time to make these princesses feel as valuable and loved נthe way God sees them.”
“We also offer a free photography session when they are all ready for prom, and we give each princess a free 5-by-7 picture,” co-director Rachel Da Silva added.
Any high school student with current identification can take advantage of the one-day dress giveaway.
Students will have their choice of jewelry, shoes, purses, even free shapewear. Alterations will be done on-site, along with dry-cleaning for every dress free of charge.
Davis said Cinderella’s Closet is still in need of gowns sizes 20 and up, blingy hair accessories, rhinestone jewelry, rhinestone shoes, sandals or flats. Also, they are looking for volunteers and sponsors for the day.
Event organizers note that there’s more good news for a host of Citrus High students.
“We are so excited that First Baptist Church of Inverness is providing a free steak dinner on April 28 to the first 100 promgoers that make reservations,” Davis said. “We are talking valet parking, white tablecloths, china, candles and twinkly white lights to boot. It will be an elegant dining experience for all, couples, singles, and groups of friends.” This dinner is for Citrus High School students on the night of prom.
Local prom dates are as follows: Crystal River High School, April 7; Lecanto High School, April 21; and Citrus High School, April 28.
“One of the things we love about Cinderella’s Closet is that it allows us to help empower these young women,” Davis said. “We want our princesses and their moms and sisters to feel strong and confident — even in the worst of times. We will be offering a free self-defense class facilitated by Juan Santiago of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. He is fantastic and passionate about equipping women — of any age — with the tools necessary to feel secure and confident.”