On Oct 4th and 5th the 1st MLG at Camp Pendleton, California hosted their 4th Annual Ball Gown Give Away and Bells of Freedom was right there beside them. The 1st MLG spouses along with local community supporters were hosts to five hundred and fifty six (556) 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: 752 gowns, over 106 pair of shoes, over 60 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, but they also had the opportunity to have free child care from licensed child care providers and also received free neck and back massage while they shopped. Five seamstresses 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 CLB 11 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.”

735 gowns were given away this year, which was an approximate total value of $137,300 worth of gowns and accessories.

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 125 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 beginning in July each year, however is happy to accept donations of new or gently worn evening wear, including gowns, shoes, bags, wraps and jewelry all year around. 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.

Learn More about Bells of Freedom’s Ball Gown Giveaway and find out how you can participate in this heartwarming event by writing to Tanya McKay.

Pictures from the 2014 Annual Ball Gown Giveaway