Sherwood Park elk donate gowns to graduates OCN News

Grad gowns and suits, at one point priced in the hundreds of dollars, were up for grabs this weekend for free for those in need.

The Sherwood Park Elks have teamed up with the Castle Downs Family YMCA to host the free event Friday and Saturday.

Lacia Iron, a Grade 12 student who is graduating this year, came from northern Saskatchewan to get a dress.

“They’re really expensive,” Iron said. “You only wear it for an hour or a few hours.”

“(It’s) the first time I’ve felt feminine,” Iron added with a laugh.

For Cardinal Collins Millwoods student Jessica, the event represented an opportunity to get a graduation gown and have fun while rummaging through clothes racks.

“I think it’s really exciting,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to get something.”

Sherwood Park Elks member Leonard Shain told CTV News Edmonton that the organization began hosting the event in 2015 with 80 dresses donated.

They received over 1,000 donations this year and expect to donate 100 costumes and 200 dresses.

“We heard that some students didn’t go to their degree because they couldn’t afford the gown or the suit, and they didn’t feel comfortable going to event,” Shain said.

“We brought in a student who told us it was one less student loan she had to take out by donating a dress to her,” he added. “It makes me smile knowing that we are helping to make someone else smile.”

Karen Neff, director of the Castle Downs Family YMCA, said participation in the volunteer-run event is rewarding as it ensures that tomorrow’s leaders will receive an appropriate degree.

“The confidence I see in some of the young people coming out of the facility with their phenomenal attire is just amazing,” she said.

For more information or to donate gently used graduate clothing, visit the Sherwood Park Elks Facebook page.

orignal news from, CTV News – Edmonton