Dresses on Loan Help Fairy Tales Come True

A new wedding or prom gown can cost hundreds of dollars, making it difficult for a girl on a budget to find the right dress to wear on her special day.

To help local women and girls in need, Hope In Fairy Tales Formals offers use of a dress for free, along with accessories such as shoes, jewelry and clutch purses. Items must be returned within seven days of the event.

Run by Rhonda Carkhuff, the organization is headquartered at 200 E. Main St., Belmont. Thanks to donations from women across the Ohio Valley, there are 1,000 dresses from which to choose.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to have that one day where nothing else matters, that one day with no worries and to feel like you’re in a fairy tale,” Carkhuff said.

Carkhuff, who is mom to three boys ages 23, 21 and 17 and two girls ages 12 and 14, decided to start her organization after doing an informal Internet survey about whether people would donate or use the dresses.

“I thought, how many people have dresses in their closet they will never use again. When I posted (online) that I wanted to do something like this, I instantly got responses from people wanting to borrow and donate,” Carkhuff said.

She started out storing dresses in every room and closet in her house. Eventually, all were moved to her husband’s former “man cave,” she said.

“That’s almost too small now. I need to figure out where to go from here,” she said.

Carkhuff said she is always looking for more dresses to use. People can contact her at 740-312-3203 or message her on Facebook at Hope In Fairy Tales Formals.

“It’s an awesome feeling. Some girls will pull out 10-to-15 dresses and be here for three hours to find the exact one they want. That’s when it’s fun – when they’re diving in and having fun with it,” she said.