By Pam Tucker Army Community Service
The dresses were lovely hanging in multi-hued groups on the racks: short, long, sparkly, refined, playful, and all colors of the rainbow.
As organizers of the Gowns for Giving event put the dresses up for display, they couldn’t help but point out their personal favorites.
However, the donated dresses were meant for Fort Detrick ladies who may not have the financial means to buy a dress on their own for the upcoming Evening of Enchantment All Services Installation Ball. This year’s ball will be on August 25 from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Hager Hall Conference and Event Center.
Over 25 women went to the Balfour Beatty Neighborhood Center on July 19, to browse the donated gowns and to take one home for themselves. To get ready for such a formal event, many ladies also pay for new shoes, manicures, hair styles, and possibly child care. There’s also the cost of the ball tickets and, in some cases, a hotel room for the evening.
Easing the financial burden on families and trying to provide a valuable service to the military community were some of the reasons the Balfour Beatty Communities and the Army Community Service (ACS) partnered together to host the Gowns of Giving.
Abbey Seldon, Balfour Beatty Communities’ Life Works coordinator, was instrumental in promoting Gowns of Giving from the moment the partnership started. The ACS collected and prepared the dresses from different donors.
Ladies could choose between trendy to vintage dresses, all shapes and sizes—many with price tags still attached. Moms-to-be who needed a gown weren’t left out either. All in all, 21 dresses found a new home.
Many dresses were donated by the Frederick Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as part of the Chapter’s continuing efforts to support Fort Detrick families. However, several of the formals were donated by generous members of the Fort Detrick, Frederick, and Carlisle Barracks communities who want to help military families in whatever ways they can. Several donors said they wanted to help a good cause and gain extra room in their closets.
Additionally, the Fort Detrick Thrift Shop provided clothing racks to properly display the dresses and the Fort Detrick Post Exchange contributed hangers.
Throughout the event, ladies talked and laughed as they held up dress after dress. They would point a friend or neighbor to a particular dress. Many made suggestions as to how to make a “so-so” gown with potential into a knockout dress.
As the evening came to a close, many ladies left not only with a new gown to call her own but also with a sense of confidence and pride knowing that they are surrounded by people who truly care.