High school prom can be one of the most exciting events of a young person's life. But if they can't afford a dress, shoes, and such, it can be one of the most angst-ridden times as well.
Karen Hazelwood is helping to write some Cinderella stories.
"It's a very heart wrenching sometimes," said Hazelwood.
She is something of a fairy godmother, launching a prom dress drive to help underprivileged girls in Pottawatomie, Lincoln and Oklahoma counties.
"I've seen kids that have said their parents said there is no way that you are going to be able to go," Hazelwood explained.
She and 22 other volunteers, who call themselves The Fairy Godmothers, couldn't dream of that happening in their communities, and together began collecting gently used dresses, shoes, and jewelry.
"We've got from plain and simple to bling, bling, bling," Hazelwood said proudly of the collection they are offering this year.
They outfit students referred to the program from local high schools. Hazelwood says the program began in 2013 to help victims of the tornadoes and eventually evolved into an annual event.
In the last two years, the program has served students in Harrah, Chandler, Wellston, Meeker, Shawnee, Earlsboro, Mcloud, Macomb, Tecumseh, Bethel, Dale, Seminole, Maud, Asher and Prague.
At least 200 students are expected to visit the makeshift store at the Shawnee Mall this year. Each will have a chance to look through the racks and find the dress that's the perfect fit. The young ladies also get shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup for the big dance.
The program also provides donated suits or tuxedos to underprivileged young men in the community.
"To see those kids have smiles on their faces when they choose a dress and get their makeup on and jewelry and everything makes all the hard work worth it," said Hazelwood.
The store opens Friday, March 6 at 3:30 p.m., but the Fairy Godmothers are accepting donations now through the end of April.
Learn more about how you can donate your gently used items on Facebook or call (405) 626-5524.