Program provides perfect prom dresses – for free

An off-the-shoulder fuchsia dress, a black A-line strapless number, and a navy blue ballgown are just a few of the items that have been collected by Talia’s Closet – an Abbotsford program aimed at providing gowns to those who can’t meet the financial requirements of graduation.

Talia’s Closet provides dresses to graduating girls in the Abbotsford-Mission area who can’t afford the cost associated with the event.

Talia’s Closet provides dresses to graduating girls in the Abbotsford-Mission area who can’t afford the cost associated with the event.

An off-the-shoulder fuchsia dress, a black A-line strapless number, and a navy blue ballgown are just a few of the items that have been collected by Talia’s Closet – an Abbotsford program aimed at providing gowns to those who can’t meet the financial requirements of graduation.

The project was started by local resident Linda Anderson a few months ago. Soon after, Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) jumped at the chance to help out.

In the beginning, Anderson had only 12 dresses.

Following an article in the Abbotsford News in February, Anderson has now accumulated 58 dresses, numerous pieces of jewelry, and a variety of shoes.

Together with Nola Koverchuk from ACS, they also landed a free, permanent store-front at Seven Oaks Mall.

In addition, three local seamstresses have volunteered to fit the girls, hairstyling is being provided, and a photographer has offered to take pictures.

“I was so proud of Abbotsford,” said Anderson, adding that dresses were also sent in from Victoria and Nelson. “They just took to it, and it was an amazing response.”

As a single parent, Anderson remembers how hard it was to get by during her daughter’s graduation. So when she started the organization, she named it after her granddaughter Talia, which means to flourish and to celebrate.

For girls to receive a free dress, they have to be referred by a school counsellor in the Abbotsford or Mission area.

Then they can make an appointment to visit the shop to try on dresses and meet with a seamstress.

The variety of gowns suite all body types and styles. Many of them are brand new and unworn, some with the tags still on.

What the project is still looking for is plus-size dresses, over size 18.

It also requires proper storage bags, clothing racks and hangers.

Cash donations can be also be made to Abbotsford Community Services for Talia’s Closet, which will go to overhead expenses, gas and hangers.

Donations will continue to be collected as Anderson and Koverchuk vow to keep the project running year-round.

Next week, Fusion Hair Design will be taking appointments for hair cuts by donation from April 18 to 22. The money raised will go towards providing the girls with services on their graduation day.

If you’d like to make a donation to Talia’s closet, email andersontimeless56@gmail.com.