For 14 years, Ronda’s Closet has been providing prom dresses to young women in West Virginia free of charge.
Behind it all is Julia Black. She and her daughter, Kristin Vess, founded Ronda’s Closet back in 2005. The program is named after Black’s best friend, Ronda Howard, who passed away from breast cancer in 2004.
“She was so beautiful, so so beautiful,” said Black. “I don’t think she got done what she wanted to get done, so this is the perfect way to honor her.”
Annually, the program provides dresses to about 200 girls at no charge and with no questions asked. All Black asks is that the girls return the dresses and have them dry cleaned before they are returned if the family can afford it.
Many of the dresses have been donated over the years. This year the group has 100 new dresses thanks to a donation from promgirl.com.
“They wanted to donate and heard of our program and liked what we were doing here in West Virginia,” said Black.
Black says they are always accepting donations of new or gently used dresses. She said they are especially in need of bigger sizes.
The program is located at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, north of Sissonville High School on Route 21. They are open every Sunday through May, except for Easter Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“We have fun. We come here and have fun and when a girl finds her perfect dress, it feels like a perfect Cinderella moment.”