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Local county offers free wedding dresses to veterans and first responders

Local county offers free wedding dresses to veterans and first responders


When Alfred Angelo, a New Jersey bridal boutique, closed its doors in 2017, hundreds of wedding dresses were donated to Camden County.

The new wedding dresses were donated on the condition that they would eventually go to military families and first responders.

“It started in 2019 when we held the first wedding dress giveaway and 500 dresses were donated to the county,” Camden County Commissioner Melinda Kane told “Good Morning America.”

Alfred Angelo, a bridal boutique in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, had gone bankrupt and donated the wedding dresses to Camden County on the condition that they would ultimately go to military families and first responders.

Camden County Veterans Office

The coronavirus pandemic shut down the so-called “Salute the Dress” event, but it returned this month and was held at the Camden County Boathouse in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Among the brides-to-be who were on hand Feb. 13 searching for their dream dress was Amala Sanders, a retired Army motor sergeant, who heard about the event through a friend.

“I was nervous and excited. I didn't know what to expect and I thought it was just going to be one of those 'hurry up and grab and run' things, and so when I got there, it “It was truly an incredible experience,” said the 50-year-old. “I had a great person help me through the whole process and she did a really amazing job.”

Amala Sanders, a retired Army motor sergeant, found her wedding dress at a county wedding dress giveaway event in New Jersey for veterans and first responders. Sanders is pictured with Camden County Commissioner Melinda Kane.

Camden County Veterans Office

Sanders tried on several dresses before finally finding the one.

“It’s a beautiful dress. [has a] mermaid style flared bottom. It fits in well at the top,” Sanders said. “It's really nice. There’s a little bit of bling in there, a little bit of dazzle, a little bit of sparkle, a little bit of shine.”

Each veteran and first responder left with a wedding dress after the Feb. 13 dress giveaway event.

Camden County Veterans Office

For Sanders, the wedding dress gift to first responders, active-duty military and veterans like her “means so much.”

Camden County's newest wedding dress giveaway event took place on February 13 at the Camden County Boathouse in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Camden County Veterans Office

“It's amazing and they made me feel absolutely stunning. So well done and I salute them,” she said.

Kane noted that the county's event was “the least we can do to show our gratitude to those who give back to our country and our community.”

“A lot of women serve in the military. It's not just a man who puts on the uniform and goes to defend our country,” she said.

She added: “We just wanted to say thank you and we wanted to help them with their special day.”




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