Haiti Outreach Program Assists in Prom Dress Shopping

KNOXVILLE — This weekend, prom dress shopping can be a charitable activity.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, sophomore Katie Riley is co-chairing the “Fierce & Fancy Formals” fashion show to raise money for a secondary school in Boucan-Carre, Haiti. Riley is a volunteer for an organization called Haiti Outreach Program, which is an ecumenical mission of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville.

“Every single one of these dresses has been donated,” Riley said, adding that the group has collected about 550 dresses so far.

The event is from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, in The Emporium Center on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville.

Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults if purchased before Saturday on their Web site. Tickets sold at the door cost $10.

“Fierce & Fancy Formals” will feature desserts, a silent auction and fashion show at 3 p.m., which will feature UT students as models. To encourage participation in the event, Riley said, “We visited as many student organizations as would have us. We asked them to nominate a model from their group or an outstanding girl that deserved to be recognized. Then they nominated girls and sent them to us.”

Knoxville-based Prestige Cleaners has cleaned all of the donated dresses.

“People have just been cleaning out their closets and dropping off dresses,” Riley said. “Then Prestige gets them to us.”

Girls from the community can try on the dresses and purchase them on the spot during Saturday’s event.

Riley, a communication studies major and a panhellenic recruitment counselor, has been involved with the Haiti Outreach Program for about 4½ years. She’s visited Haiti twice and hopes to go back soon.

Committee member and UT sophomore Angela Scruggs hopes the Haiti Outreach Program will encourage the community to aid their mission in Boucan-Carre.

Scruggs said, “Haiti has touched my heart since I had a little brother adopted from there. I really want to help the people of Haiti, and this fashion show is a great way to spread awareness and raise funds for our missions.”

“Fierce & Fancy Formals” was planned prior to the 2009 earthquake.

Riley and her committee members — Scruggs, Jarett Beaudoin, Jessica Henderson, Katie Erpenbach and Morgan Moore — have worked very hard on this event. Riley is featured in a video on the Ready for the World Facebook page.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Pictured left to right are Jessica Henderson, committee member; Angela Scruggs, committee member; Chance Vineyard, model for fashion show; Jarett Beaudoin, committee member; and Katie Riley, co-chair of the fashion show/event.

C O N T A C T :

Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225, bhardy4@utk.edu)

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