Wishing a fairy godmother would help with the high cost of a prom gown?
Elegant dresses are free at Ronda's Closet with no questions asked. There is even a rack for chaperones to choose a dress to wear on the big night.
A prom gown and accessories can run into hundreds of dollars, stretching an already tight budget. However, it doesn't have to be that way.
Ronda's Closet, housed at Aldersgate United Methodist Church near Sissonville, has a huge selection of elegant dresses in a variety of sizes. Colors range from bold and glittery to basic black.
There is nothing like seeing the gleam in a girl's eyes when she finds that perfect dress, organizer Julia Black said.
Gowns were selected last year by more than 50 girls from the counties of Kanawha, Putnam, Braxton, Logan and Lincoln. A couple of girls traveled from Kentucky and Ohio to get dresses.
While the "shopping" process is confidential, girls don't seem too concerned about that with so many people stretching budgets to make ends meet these days, Black said.
Girls are more concerned about searching through the inventory for that perfect gown to wear on a special night.
New and gently used gowns are donated by individuals and businesses. Nandel's in Eleanor donated 30 new gowns this year. Girls are asked to return gowns after their respective proms so that others may enjoy them next year. Gardner's provides dry cleaning and storage to keep the project going.
This marks the eighth year for Ronda's Closet, a project that makes the prom affordable for everyone.
Black launched Ronda's Closet during the prom season of 2006 in memory of her friend Ronda Jones Howard of Charleston, who died of breast cancer in 2004 at the age of 44.
Howard, who was a model, was a giving and loving person who thought of others. It seemed fitting to open Ronda's Closet in her memory.
Gowns from Ronda's Closet will be modeled in an upcoming fashion show at Sissonville High School. About 36 SHS seniors will wear the gowns in the 2013 Prom Show Extravaganza set for 1 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the school auditorium. The event is a fundraiser for the Sissonville High prom. Tickets are $3. Seating is limited. Call the school at 304-348-1954.
Sissonville High School teacher Brenda Walker-Bowen organizes the show each year. She said participants have a good time while gaining confidence in elegant gowns on the runway.