Cinderella story

UDMO will sell prom dresses for a pittance to benefit its Back to School efforts

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Jamie Johnston, a family development and self sufficiency specialist with Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. peeks out from behind a rack of prom dresses that are part of their Prom Dress sale fundraiser. The dresses can be purchased on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Upper Des Moines is located at 1325 First Ave. S.

On Saturday, anyone needing a prom dress this year can do several things at once at the Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. prom dress sale fundraiser.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., they can get a prom dress for a good price while supporting UDMO’s Back to School program.

UDMO is located at 1325 First Ave. S. Cash and checks will be accepted; UDMO is unable to scan cards.

The Back to School program supplies a backpack and the needed school supplies to income qualified students in Webster County. Last year about 800 students received the supplies.

Jamie Johnston, family development and self sufficiency specialist with UDMO, said the idea came out of a brain storming session as they were looking for ways to pay for the Back to School program.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Jamie Johnston, a family development and self sufficiency specialist with Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. looks at one of the suits that will also be part of their Prom Dress Sale fundraiser this Saturday.

“We asked ourselves, what can we do to raise what we need? It just blew up from there.”

About 80 dresses in a variety of sizes, styles and colors are on sale.

“We’ve got it all,” Johnston said. “There’s short. There’s poofy. There’s princess. Pretty much anything and a good range of sizes.”

Almost 30 of them came from one source.

“Twenty-eight of them are brand new. They were donated by Teresa’s Bridal & Prom in Algona.”

The gentlemen have not been left out of the sale.

“We have two or three full suits. There are four extra jackets and a few dress pants and shirts.”

The prices?

Exceptionally reasonable.

“The most expensive one is $50 and the lower end is $20.”

Johnston said they’ve left the store price tags on so buyers can see the bargains.

“There’s some as high as $700.”

Having all those dresses in the office has been an opportunity for Johnston and the staff to have some fun too.

“We’ve taken advantage of a few that we would try on. It’s been fun doing something a little different. We’ve put up some of the pictures on our Facebook page.”

While anyone is welcome to purchase a dress, Johnston hopes potential prom attendees who might not otherwise be able to afford a dress come by and get one. Not every family can afford such an expense, she said.

Today, UDMO will close a little early to get ready for the sale.

“We want to turn this into a boutique,” Johnston said.

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