In 2008, Dana Davis and her college-aged daughter Rachel were walking through Rachels’ closet when they came up with the idea for a ball gown. As a single mom, Davis remembered how she raked and saved and struggled to buy Rachel a ball gown.
They started Cinderellas Closet as a ministry from Cornerstone Baptist Church in Inverness, and that first year provided free ball gowns to around 30 girls at Citrus High School.
Over the years, the event has brought together girls of secondary school age in Citrus County, with the January 2020 event reaching 190 girls.
Now, in 2021, the name of the ministry has changed to Citrus Cinderellas, and as COVID-19 is still with us and the decisions of the school ball have yet to be decided, at this time a prom dress event is also in progress.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t dresses to give away.
This year, Citrus Cinderellas is inviting women and girls of all ages to a 2 pm to 5 pm fashion show dress competition on Saturday, March 20 at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1100 W. Highland Blvd., Inverness.
Over 800 semi-formal dresses, homecoming dresses, wedding dresses, and even around two dozen bridesmaid dresses will be offered, with a limit of two dresses per person.
We’ve been a big part of the community for so long, and we decided this year that since we couldn’t give a ball gown gift like we normally do, we could offer a free event for some of the other dresses we do. we have, said Ashley Young, a member of the management team of Citrus Cinderellas.
So this year is not just for the high school girls in the community but for all ages a wonderful girls day for everyone, she said.
As Young explained, due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, they would not be able to disinfect dresses between multiple girls trying on the same dresses throughout the day.
At this event, dresses cannot be tried on.
Instead, models of all shapes and sizes will model the dresses so people can get a general idea of what might be right for them.
It’s not ideal, but it’s free, said Dana Davis.
Throughout the afternoon there will also be gifts from gift baskets.
We were trying to make this event a very positive one for our community, to let people know that no matter how dismal things seem, they always hope and are loved, Davis said.
This is Davis’ last event at Cinderella, along with her daughters.
Rachel, now Rachel Da Silva, married mother of twins, and Davis are leaving popular and successful ministry after the March 20 event.
We think God has other ministerial activities that He wants us to be involved in … and we have good leaders taking over, Davis said.
Although Citrus Cinderellas does not receive clothing donations at this time, they still take things like glitter blings, accessories, bags and small purses, tiaras, etc.
Also, they need clothes racks or monetary donations to buy them.
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