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HANFORD — After a successful first run at “turning dresses into dreams,” the three fairy godmothers in charge of the Cinderella Project of Hanford are hoping to keep the magic going.

Last year, Rachael Pepe, Amy Leslie and Gina Young decided to create the project where high school girls, regardless of financial need, can shop for a formal or prom dress at no cost to them.

The women wanted to give every girl the opportunity to have their Cinderella moment by getting dressed up, going to a dance and just having fun.

Pepe said the first dress distribution event, held in November before winter formal, went well. She said they hoped for at least 20 girls to show up and 24 girls did, with all but one taking home a dress.

Pepe said the girls that attended the event, along with their parents or grandparents, were extremely grateful because if it had not been for the project, some of them would not have been able to attend the winter formal dance due to the expense of a dress.

“That was the whole point of this — so what we could make it affordable and doable for these families,” Pepe said.

The second Cinderella Project of Hanford dress distribution event, just in time for prom, is this Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hanford Joint Union High School District Office, 823 W. Lacey Blvd.

Something new that Pepe was excited to announce was a raffle made possible by local florists Gonsalves-Fasso Flowers, An Enchanted Florist and Divine Creations. She said all three businesses are donating a corsage and boutonniere and three girls will be picked to receive certificates for the flowers.

Pepe said another business will be doing a girl’s nails for free and she is looking for more businesses to possibly do nails or hair for free for some of the girls as well.

Girls looking for dresses and accessories will only need a valid school I.D. card from one of the three high schools in Hanford. Dresses are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to dresses, shoes, costume jewelry, purses and other formal accessories can be donated as well. The only thing the project does not accept is money.

The project’s donation process is ongoing and Pepe said almost 300 dresses have been donated so far.

For those wishing to donate, organizers just ask that items be clean because the project doesn’t have the financial means to have items cleaned.

Pepe also encourages the girls to donate the dresses back once they are done so other girls can experience their own Cinderella moments.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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