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Donations provide dresses for school dances | News, Sports, Jobs

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Lydia Balas of Cinderella’s Closet pulls one of her favorite dresses off the shelf of donated items to be donated to students in Warren County.

When Cinderella needed a dress to wear to the ball, her fairy godmother came to the rescue.

Cinderella’s Closet seeks to provide the same type of service, “so no princess is left behind”, but without any magic conjuration and without concern for objects reverting to another form.

Lydia and Pam Balas will open Cinderella’s Closet from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 1 at Holy Redeemer Church, 11 Russell St., Warren.

They offer appropriate dresses, shoes and accessories for school dances.

Lydia Balas had been involved with the Pantry at Warren Area High School and she had heard of other entities that had donated dresses into the community. “Why not restart it? » she thought.

“I have homecomings planned, proms… all kinds of school proms,” said Lydia Balas.

She knew that not everyone went to these dances and that some were held back by their ability to find an appropriate outfit.

“I heard whispers in the hallway” that people wouldn’t go because they couldn’t find a dress, she said.

Initially, she thought of organizing an event at school, but she turned away from the idea. “I don’t want kids to think they can’t come to the closet because they don’t go to this school” she says. “It’s very discreet. I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.

She suggested a more neutral site.

“We have been part of this church all my life,” said Lydia Balas. “It made sense to do it in church. We had a meeting. I gave them my ideas and they said, “Of course”.

“Father and office staff were very kind,” said Pam Balas.

There is even a space reserved for the changing rooms.

With an idea and a place, they needed formal wear.

“We have a lot of friends…we knew we could get dresses,” said Lydia Balas.

But would that be enough?

“What if we don’t get dresses?” » she says.

It wasn’t a problem. “We have tons of dresses” she says. “The community has come together.”

There are even dresses from outside the county.

They collected 200 items, including dresses appropriate for homecoming, prom or Christmas dancing, as well as shoes and accessories.

“All sizes, all colors, all styles” said Pam Balas.

The events of Cinderella’s closet may come too late for some dances.

“We recognize that a few homecomings are ahead and we have missed them,” said Pam Balas. But, there are dresses suitable for events that are still in the future.

The closet may be reopened later in the year – depending on how many dresses remain after the first two and whether or not more dresses arrive – but the Balases are encouraging people to take a peek at the dresses prom next week rather than wait.

Visitors are asked to enter through the North South Street car park and descend to the ground floor.

Additional information is available by contacting Pam and Lydia at

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