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Local church offers free prom dress rentals

On Sunday, High school girls browsed racks and racks of prom dresses at Rhonda's Closet inside Aldersgate Methodist Church in Sissionville. (WCHS/WVAH)

High school proms are just around the corner which means young girls are starting the search for the perfect dress.

"The hardest part is trying to spread apart the racks," said Sissionville High School junior, Honesty Bragg.

From pink to blue and with sparkles or tulle, high school girls browsed racks of prom dresses at Rhonda's Closet inside Aldersgate Methodist Church in Sissionville.

Marilynn Dougherty and her daughter have come to Rhonda's Closet for five years now, "I've spotted three dresses that she has worn in the past, and they are back on the rack for others to enjoy."

Girls can rent the prom dresses for free and even pay to have them altered.

Known as the Fairy Godmother, Julia Black's mission for the past 14 years is helping girls feel gorgeous and save money.

"We ask no questions, and they don't have to say their financials," said Rhonda's Closet Founder, Julia Black. "The prom dress is very expensive, and it can be as much as $700."

In 2018, Rhonda's closet had 200 girls rent dresses saving them and their families hundreds of dollars.

Honesty Bragg said the costs add up quickly, "it def saves all kinds of money. When you get your nails done, that $50 bucks right there. Then you got to get your hair, and makeup so just having a free dress makes a lot easier."

Black says while girls are coming as far away as Morgantown to find a dress. Just this year a gown company out of state donated 100 brand new dresses to them, along with others in the community.

While Rhonda's Closet has hundreds of dresses in all sizes, Black says they could use more plus size dresses like from size 18 and up.

"If you have dresses in your closet and their larger size dresses, please get in touch with us we're in dire need of those," said Black.

Rhonda's Closet is open on Sundays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. until mid-May. After the prom, girls are asked to pay for their dress dry cleaning at Gardner's Dry Cleaning in Charleston, and the business returns the dress to Rhonda's Closet.

Rhonda's Closet is located at Aldersgate Methodist Church (6823 Sissonville Dr, Charleston, WV 25320).

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