Three girls from southern Manitoba have spent the last few weeks collecting used grad dresses to be shipped to Fort McMurray, for graduates who lost theirs in wildfires this spring.
Celeste Petrick lives near Sarto. Petrick says while seeing the images come out of Fort McMurray earlier this spring, it prompted her to do something to help. A recent grad, Petrick had wanted to donate her grad dress anyway, and says she decided to send it to Fort McMurray. But rather than send just one grad dress, the young woman made it her mission to collect as many dresses as possible to send over.
Soon after, Julia Plett of Blumenort heard what Petrick was doing and felt a desire to help out.
"I'm graduating this year, what if my dress got burned," says Plett. "I would be really upset about that, I spent all this money on a dress and now I don't get to wear it."
Mia Prenvault of Winnipeg also jumped in to help with collecting and the three now have 112 dresses ready to be shipped.
"It's definitely exceeded expectations," admits Petrick. "I thought maybe fifty people would want to donate."
Petrick says the dresses just keep coming. A lot of mothers have asked if they can donate bridesmaid dresses or even boys' tuxedos.
"They just want to help," she says.
Plett adds each girl that drops by to donate a dress gives her a hug and mentions how wonderful it is what they are doing.
According to Petrick, the dresses are all about four years old or newer.
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"A lot of them are like brand new and in pristine condition, only worn once to grad," she says.
The girls are going through an organization in Calgary called The Cinderella Project. The dresses will be shipped to Calgary and from there they will be sent to Fort McMurray. Petrick says she has heard that graduations there will be happening in September.
Though the girls would love to accept more dresses, Petrick admits they have actually been turning people down over the last few days, simply because of how much it will cost to ship the dresses to Alberta. She notes 112 dresses will cost about $600 to ship, and that doesn't include purchasing the necessary boxes.
"If people want to donate big boxes that they would have from their appliances or from furniture, that'd be really helpful," says Petrick. "And if companies would want to help to donate to the shipping costs that would be awesome because we're both young students, we don't have the means to fund this to ship them out."
Petrick says worst case scenario, they will go on road trip and deliver the dresses to Calgary themselves.
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