North Huntingdon 'Ladies' donate gowns to Angela's Angels
Just in time for high school prom season, a North Huntingdon women's Bible study group donated 60 gently worn gowns and party dresses to a nonprofit that distributes the items at no charge to financially disadvantaged young women.
The non-denominational group “Ladies of the Red Tent” selected Angela's Angels in Latrobe as the charity it would support in March and collected the gowns and accessories — including shoes and purses — said Sherri Kovalcin, executive director of the Norwin Community Resource Center, where about a dozen women meet for the Bible study.
The center, where men and women age 50 and older meet and take a variety of classes, gets more than 2,000 visitors a month, Kovalcin said.
“We asked for donations and they (gowns) came in like crazy,” she said.
Kovalcin said she was not surprised at the response, which included dresses of every color, shape and style.
“They're (center patrons) very generous,” Kovalcin said.
She publicized the initiative on the center's Facebook page last month, and the women responded with dresses from stores such as Macy's and David's Bridal in Monroeville. Most likely had been stored in the women's homes for years, Kovalcin said.
“The ladies were enthused about helping,” said Marian Parker, of North Huntingdon, a member of the Bible study.
Another member of the Bible study, Laurie Gillott, of North Huntingdon, donated a prom gown that her daughter, Madeline, had worn several years ago.
“She was OK with it. She was happy to donate it to a good cause,” Gillott said.
The women in the Bible study group are accustomed to collecting for a worthy cause because they do it every month, Kovalcin said.
Angela Rose-O'Brien, who founded Angela's Angels 10 years ago, was thankful for the donation.
“It's a really good time to get the dresses. We've got girls coming in,” O'Brien said prior to loading the donated gowns into her vehicle last week.
Angela's Angels has between 1,700 and 1,900 gowns at the second-floor space it occupies in the Quatrini-Rafferty Building in Latrobe, O'Brien said. The organization provides the gowns and accessories for free, as well as a fitting and alterations.
“We've had a little bit of everything,” O'Brien said, recalling one young lady who requested a purple gown.
The Unity woman said some recipients are homeless and living out of a car, while others are girls with special needs attending Clelian Heights in Hempfield and at NHS Human Services schools in Whitney and Herminie.
“Our job is not judge those coming in. You have to swallow your pride when you cross our threshold,” O'Brien said.
O'Brien said they were even able to provide a gown to a girl with an inoperable brain tumor.
“The people who were with her were crying, she was crying and we were crying,” O'Brien said. “It's a story like that every week.”
They even had one family in need of a dress for a loved one who had just died and wanted nice clothes for her funeral, O'Brien said.
“We were sending someone home to the Lord with one our outfits. We were so happy we could send her off in that way,” O'Brien said.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.