‘Fairy godmothers’ help local girls in need attend prom

A group in Walker County is continuing its mission to help girls in need have a fairy-tale prom experience. Formed by a group of women, the Walker County Fairy Godmothers Association began four years ago with a desire to help girls attend prom who couldn’t afford a dress for the occasion. Since then, the association has helped dress a number of girls in Walker County and surrounding communities. Their efforts resulted in 20 girls being able to attend prom last year, who wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. What started as a small closet of donated dresses for the cause has now grown to two storage units of at least 450 dresses, and the fairy godmothers need the public’s help to move their dresses into a donated space at the Townley Community Center. Heather Evans-Hood, the director of the Walker County Fairy Godmothers Association, said the space at the community center was once vandalized and is in need of some TLC. “Paint, flooring, lighting, a long dress rack, a small stage with a large mirror for the kids to see themselves, and window treatments are needed to bring this room up to date and make it a special place for these young people to come,” Hood said. “With the space given, we will begin to take in little girls dresses for local and school pageant uses. We even have space to take in a few suits, dress slacks, shoes and shirts for boys for prom as well.” Hood said they have already received paint and curtain donations for the space, and they would like to move to the community center as soon as possible, since they have to currently pay an $80 fee for their storage units. The group expects to help even more girls this year, and they are desperately in need of plus size dresses 16 to 28 and shoes sizes 6 to 12. They are currently purging some of their dresses at a cost of $5 to $20, to make way for new styles and additional size options. Proceeds from sales will go toward their current storage unit, and once they move to the Townley Community Center the donations will be used to purchase any necessary clothing items.

While the association primarily focuses on providing prom dresses, they do occasionally help dress girls for pageants, and they will be able to help dress two boys for prom this year. Hood said they would gladly except any donated men’s formal wear, which would allow them to help more boys. The girls they help are asked to return their dresses after use so that they can possibly be used again. The fairy godmothers are also asking that each girl receiving a dress pay a $20 laundering fee; however, they will not turn anyone away if they can’t afford to pay for the cleaning. Those who wish to make donations of lightly used dresses or menswear or would like to purchase one of the dresses they are purging can call Hood at (205) 544-0371. She can also be reached regarding donations for the remodel of their donated room at Townley Community Center. Those who need help to attend prom should call Hood as well, or visit the Walker County Fairy Godmothers Association Facebook page. In addition to dressing girls and some boys for prom, the association welcomes area restaurants who would like to provide a meal for two, hairstylists who would be willing to do hair and makeup for girls free of charge and florists who could provide corsages. Hood said she is appreciative of many businesses that have been generous to provide those services in the past. Hood also reiterated the group strives to only help those in need, and she encourages those who can afford dresses to support local businesses. So far, they have helped six girls this prom season. “There is nothing more humbling than seeing the surprise and the smile on a young girl’s face when she puts on a dress that fits her, that compliments the beauty she already has,” Hood said. “We just helped with the special needs dance in Sumiton, where we helped four young ladies. One of them, when she put the dress on, she just kept touching the dress and saying how beautiful she felt and how beautiful the dress was. ... Every young girl deserves to have a Cinderella moment. Our hope is that no one will ever feel like they’re unable to participate in something like that.”