Loveland resident Alma Blanco started a program in 2018 to make sure every girl could go to prom by offering free formal dresses through the boutique at the House of Neighborly Service. She wanted to give all teenage girls the chance to feel like a princess.
She had no idea that Macy’s would become her fairy godmother.
The stores in Loveland and Littleton recently donated all of their prom dresses — formal gowns that remained on the racks when the retailer closed in March because of the coronavirus — along with their unsold children’s Easter attire, 1,674 total dresses.
“They pulled up literally in a moving truck,” said Cheryl Wong, development manager for the nonprofit House of Neighborly Service, which assists families in need throughout Loveland.
Blanco, who as clothing program manager runs the boutique, launched her first prom dress event, in 2018, giving away 42 dresses at a special prom shopping day in the spring. The next year, in 2019, girls from Loveland, Longmont, Berthoud, Fort Collins, Windsor and even Brighton took home 70 dresses for free.
“Everybody’s welcome,” said Blanco, sharing responses from some of the girls, who said they felt like a princess or that they couldn’t afford a dress otherwise.
The woman who started the program by buying dresses that she found on sale for $5 and then seeking donations of additional dresses passionately wanted the program to grow. Blanco had no doubt the numbers would continue to increase, but she had no idea that the coronavirus, which canceled the 2020 prom, would lead to such an influx in dresses.
“I’m like on Cloud 10,” said Blanco.
Jamie Webb, general store manager for the Littleton Macy’s, shares Blanco’s excitement. She heard about the prom dress program after John Dennis, manager of the Loveland store, donated all of his store’s dresses to Blanco, and she decided to join in the effort as well.
And come March, she plans to bring employees to volunteer at the free dress event, to see the girls pick out their perfect dresses.
“These are just unprecedented times,” Webb said Wednesday during a visit to the House of Neighborly Service. “If there’s a way to help our community … girls are going to feel amazing in these dresses and happy, and that’s what puts a smile on our face.”
The Loveland store dropped off 1,327 dresses, and Blanco drove to Littleton to pick up another 347. She has them all sorted by color and style — long and short, intricate and simple, bright and subdued, shimmery and classic — hanging on racks in a storage area waiting for spring when the House of Neighborly Service will open for a special free prom dress event.
She also is planning an Easter attire event with the donated children’s clothing.
“It’s going to be so much fun,” said Blanco. “The girls are going to be ecstatic, just like me. They’re going to be blessed.”
Credit: Source link