long sleeve polos for women Outgrown clothes spur Easter dress giveaway
Clothing racks held dresses of organza and tulle and poly satin feminine materials wholly compatible with girlish grit and gumption.
At least that’s how Eleanor Flora Smalley sees it. She’s the mother of Ele, who once wore many of the dresses displayed. Both Ele and her mother carry the first name of a famously strong first lady.
“Girls should not only feel powerful but pretty,” Eleanor Smalley said. “We want them to be strong and make a difference and we can help them recognize that they are all beautiful and unique.”
The Radford Public Library was the setting Saturday of an Easter dress giveaway that was the brainchild of Ele and her aunt, Bethany Flora. They teamed up with Flora’s church, the comparatively new Community Life Church in Pulaski County, to hold the event.
Shantessa Knutson and her daughter, Maggie, 8, found a white, sequined dress for Maggie.
“It’s beautiful, gorgeous,” Knutson said. “It looks like a prom dress.”
Knutson said the family could not have afforded to buy a nice Easter dress for Maggie. Saturday’s giveaway was “absolutely wonderful,” she said.
Jessica Wade came with daughter Sophie, 14 months, and found for her a pinkish polka dot dress and pink shoes. She also found dresses for two daughters who stayed home in Dublin on Saturday.
The older girls are autistic, Wade said, and the family faces expenses that would otherwise preclude the purchase of Easter dresses.
At noon, the racks held about 300 dresses of varied sizes, including more than 250 donated by Ele and Smalley and Smalley’s husband, Scott. The family lives in Berryville.
Smalley said she and Scott prayed for 10 years to have a child and that after Ele was born, her mother was reluctant to part with Ele’s clothes as she outgrew them.
“Because I so loved every memory of every minute of seeing her in every dress,” Smalley said.
“It’s not that I’m a hoarder. I could just look at the dresses and see Ele in them,” Smalley said.
But Ele eventually weighed in, Smalley said, saying, “Mom, seriously, get a grip.'”
Smalley said surrendering the dresses Saturday was a joyful experience.
“It’s perfect, really. All my memories are still there and now Ele is creating them for other people,” Smalley said.
People like Helen Greene, 34, who came with daughter, Natalie, 5. Greene embraced Bethany Flora on Saturday and then wiped away tears.
Greene said she wants to provide good memories for Natalie, her son and her working husband.
She said she has no health insurance and cannot afford an endoscopy, a procedure she said might help determine the source of what she described as health problems.