Macon County Chronicle

Disaster Divas to host dress giveaway March 22

Two weeks ago, after watching a news story about a Tennessee woman who lost her wedding dress in the series of tornados that swept through Middle Tennessee, six girls, all recent college graduates, decided to make sure that every young woman looking forward to that special day, the high school prom, an upcoming beauty pageant, or any social event, has that perfect dress to make her feel like Cinderella.

And in an effort to make sure every girl feels like a princess, the girls will be coming to Central Elementary School in Lafayette on Saturday, March 22, to make sure every girl is given the opportunity.

Dubbing themselves “The Smith County Wives Club,” Heather Russell, Emily Stooksbury, Lindsey Underwood, Megan McDonald, Casey Hackett and Ashley Rose are all dating, are engaged to, or are married to, men from Smith County, Tennessee, and have enjoyed a close-knit friendship that began soon after first meeting.

With two of the six girls currently engaged, the story of Jolene Randal, of Castalian Springs, who lost her wedding dress, deeply touched the group of girls, who knew all too well how much the perfect wedding dress means to a bride-to-be.

Being recent college graduates, financially unable to donate money to tornado victims, the girls began thinking of a way they could help people effected by the storms in a different way, and after realizing how many beautiful dresses, collected from sorority formals, prom, pageants and weddings, hung in their closets, ‘Disaster Divas’ was born.

Receiving approximately 100 dresses during their first week with donations from local sororities at Tennessee Tech, and dress shops including The White Room in Lebanon, Faccio Bridal in Franklin, and Mere Elegance and Country Bumpkin in Cookeville, the girls are expecting to bring an estimated 300 to 400 dresses to Lafayette along with a large selection of matching jewelry, shoes, men’s suits and pocketbooks.

“Macon County’s prom is coming up in a few months,” said Disaster Diva communications co-chair. “A lot of people lost everything in the tornados and there are a lot of people who can’t afford to buy an expensive dress. We have dresses that are in good condition and still very stylish and cute. It’s just one less thing these girls have to worry about.”

Equipped with four dressing rooms and full length mirrors, the Disaster Divas will have a selection of new and used wedding, formal, plus-size, ladies, pageant, children’s and Sunday dresses. And with the prom, several pageants, and Easter just around the corner, the girls are hoping for a large turnout during their visit and urge anyone from the surrounding counties, effected by the line of tornados, to stop by as well.

“We were going to donate to tornado victims exclusively,” Russell said. “But when we got so may dresses donated to us, we decided to open it up to anyone who has financial problems, special needs or simply needs our help. Anyone in need is welcome to come get a dress.”

Along with the donated merchandise, a Paul Mitchell representative has donated hair care products, hair salons will be giving away free prom up-dos, with any out-of-town salons willing to come to the winners, and Merle Norman will be hosting make-up giveaways for free make-up service for prom.