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Woman helping collect

Like most people, Lisa Byrne felt an overwhelming urge to help the people of Fort McMurray come to grips with losing their possessions in recent wildfires there.

GARY KEAN/THE WESTERN STARLisa Byrne of Corner Brook is collecting graduation dresses for students impacted by the wildfires in northern Alberta.Other newsCleanup period designated in Stephenville

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After hearing that a friend of hers on the Baie Verte Peninsula had come up with an idea to collect graduation dresses for affected students, the Corner Brook woman thought she would do the same in her hometown.

Ever since she posted her plan on the Corner Brook Classifieds page on Facebook Friday, Byrne’s phone has been lighting up incessantly with notifications from people willing to help.

By Saturday morning, she had around 10 dresses given to her and at least 50 more people saying they would be donating.

“I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing,” Byrne said in between checking her phone for new messages. “I wanted to do something myself and, when I realized how big a need there might be for graduation dresses, I decided this is what I should do.”

Byrne has connected with a woman in Alberta who has been coordinating the receipt of graduation wear from all across the country for those in the Fort McMurray area who may have lost their dresses or who now have limited means to arrange one for their upcoming graduations.

“Everyone deserves to have a graduation dress,” said Byrne.

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Her employer, the Hair Boutique located in the CIBC building on Main Street, has agreed to store the dresses until they can be shipped. Byrne said she can handle up to 50 dresses and will be accepting them up until Friday.

She plans to ship them off to Alberta Monday.

While she had not planned on accepting garments for male students, Byrne said won’t turn away such donations. She has also been accepting shoes and accessories to go with the collected formal wear.

A donation box has been set up at the front counter of the Hair Boutique for anyone who would like to help this cause financially. Byrne said any money left from the costs of shipping the dresses would be forwarded to schools in the fire-ravaged region to help defray their costs of graduation ceremonies. Any dresses not used by students affected by the fires will be distributed to other students in need elsewhere in Canada.

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