On September 29, 2017 the CBL11 at Camp Pendleton, California hosted their 7th Annual Ball Gown Give Away and Bells of Freedom was right there beside them. The CBL11 spouses along with local community supporters were hosts to four hundred and (400) young ladies who were treated to a very special day of ‘shopping’ through the generous support of donated evening wear from private donors and community supporters alike.
Total collected: 740 gowns, over 125 pair of shoes, over 75 purses, and numerous articles of jewelry to give away to Camp Pendleton ladies. Many of the gowns and accessories donated were new and from top designers. Not only did our ladies receive a free gown, Seamstresses were on site were ready to do minor alterations absolutely free of charge. “This is such a great an event and it ran so smoothly,” stated a 3rd Battalion spouse. “This event elevated so much of my stress during this crazy ball season. I am very grateful and appreciative to the FRO’s and the local community that made this wonderful event possible for us all.”
740 gowns were given away this year, which was an approximate total value of $140,000.00 worth of gowns and accessories.
Shoppers were given a scheduled time to begin their shopping spree. Along with evening wear suitable for the ball, spouses were able to shop for casual wear for themselves and new this year; dress and casual wear for their men for those service members soon to be released from service and needing business attire for interviewing.
Everything from the gathering, sorting and hanging of gowns, shoes, bags and accessories to the ‘shopping’ day is carefully planned so as to provide a ‘special day’ for these ladies. “It’s just like going into your favorite boutique”, one of our Marines spouses were heard saying.
This shopping event provides the possibility for a spouse to walk out the door with a complete ensemble for the ball; a gown with shoes, a purse, and jewelry to match. With average prices of cocktail and evening wear at $150.00, it all makes for a “Cinderella’ moment.
Not only is this a great event for the guest, but it’s a very rewarding event for the volunteers too. This event had over 115 volunteers donating their time or talents to make this event a special one for our spouses. One volunteer said, “It is such a delight to see the women’s faces light up when they find that special gown.”
Bells of Freedom actively assists in this annual effort all year long. Bells of Freedom welcomes community volunteers to aide in the sorting of donations, set up/breakdown as well as acting as personal stylists and babysitters each year.
Enjoy some photos from the event!