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Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.

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Cinderella’s Closet preparing for 2011

By CATHY DYSON

“Fairy godmothers” at Concord Baptist Church in Caroline County are busy getting ready for this year’s Cinderella’s Closet.

The program, which started with humble beginnings in 2007, continues to grow. The number of helpers, who gather dresses and accessories for local teenagers to wear to spring dances and proms, has increased, along with the number of girls from Caroline and beyond who receive goods.

This year, Cinderella’s Closet will be held Saturday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church at 15625 Concord Road, just off U.S. 301 near the Frog Level Fire Department.

All middle- and high-school girls are invited to attend and pick out a dress. Everything is free, and it’s part of the church’s mission to “show our young ladies that we care about them, to make them feel good about themselves and just how very special they are in God’s eyes,” according to a press release from the church.

“Parents are helped economically, and it is our prayer that they, too, will realize God’s love,” the release stated.

Girls must be present to choose a dress, and there is a limit of one gown per girl.

Accessories are limited.

Cinderella’s Closet is open to donations of money, shoes, purses, jewelry and dresses that are age-appropriate and in style.

“On occasion, we get some dresses that look like they have been in someone’s attic since the 1960s,” said organizer Jeannie Ball. “We do appreciate the thoughtfulness, but they do need to be in style, if you know what I mean.”

When the closet opened last year, in time for girls to get dressed for prom, about 20 fairy godmothers in purple T-shirts were available to help steer the shoppers to the right styles and sizes.

The ongoing recession has made it harder for the organizers to raise money to buy new and gently used dresses. This year, the fairy godmothers sold wooden ornaments of the church and had a bake sale.

The program has helped make prom and other special spring dances affordable, especially for families affected by the economy. When the closet opened in 2007, it outfitted six girls. The number grew to 36 in 2008 and 140 in 2009. Last year, 10 of the 86 girls who got prom dresses were attending the Special Olympics Ball.

The dresses went to girls from Caroline as well as from surrounding counties.

For more information about Cinderella’s Closet, contact Jeannie Ball at 804/633-6786 or Diane Boone at 804/690-4249. Cinderella’s Closet also is on Facebook.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com

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