Amy Cunningham
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Imagine the horror of walking into the prom only to find several other girls dressed in the gown that you carefully selected.  Prom goers who choose their formal dress from the Brent Bays Foundation’s prom dress fundraiser sale, held this Saturday, March 5, won’t have to worry about that as they peruse through hundreds of donated gowns.
The foundation’s volunteers have been busy collecting and pricing the nearly 300 brand new or gently used pieces of merchandise in anticipation of the event.  They were even the recipients of an unexpected gift, 120 brand new designer dresses with the tags still attached.
“There is a huge variety of dresses – we have some that are short, some that are long, some have wraps to go with them, we’ve got dresses in a lot of different colors,” said Maggie Truitt, one of the event’s organizers.
Added Dena Ranz, another of the BBF volunteers, “We’ve got all kinds of variety – everything from a 1980s style to really current, we have simple David’s bridal-type dresses, to, what I call, a princess dress.  We have every color and style you can imagine – even plus sizes from sizes 16 up to size 24.”
The foundation hopes the sale will benefit them financially, but they also believe that it will benefit area families by making stylish prom dresses affordable.  All gowns are priced with a minimum suggested donation of $20.  Of course, shoppers are welcome to donate more, should they see fit.
Volunteers from the foundation will be busy this week putting the finishing touches on their store, open for one day only in the Main Street offices of FirstLight United Methodist Church.  They will accept donations up to the start of the sale.
Shoppers who can’t make it Saturday haven’t completely missed out on the great deals, Ranz has decided to keep the dresses for now and open her house by appointment.
Ranz thinks that the shop could have a broader audience than just those ladies looking for a prom dress.
“Of course we’ll have the high school girls, the prom goers – but I think anyone looking for a formal dress might be interested.  Some of the dresses that were donated were adults who needed them for a cruise or I have a friend who goes ballroom dancing and she liked several of the dresses, so, really anyone looking for a formal dress,” Ranz said.
The Brent Bays Foundation is an organization of volunteers whose purpose is to raise money for individuals in and around the Gardner area who have been financially impacted by a battle with cancer. The organization has achieved 501C3 status, so any donations may be written off on taxes.
“I think that every family who is facing cancer winds up in a position where they need money for food, rent, mortgage, clothes – those types of needs,” Truitt said.
Donations may be made to:  Dena Ranz at (913)602-4198 or Maggie Truitt at (913)787-3011.  The group may also be contacted on their Web site at