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Foster care advocates seek donations for homecoming styles

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting ready for your high school homecoming, dance or prom.

However, for a lot of students, the financial stresses make finding the perfect homecoming style impossible.

At Formally Yours, volunteers try to really give teens in foster care that feeling of finding the perfect outfit. Some dresses even still have tags, but because of the pandemic last year, donations are way down, from dresses to shoes, to hair products, and everything in between.

Bay News 9 Reporter Alese Underwood caught up with Laura Reynolds and Yvonne Marrone as they were sorting out jewelry.

Formally Yours

“We are preparing for our homecoming event that will be in September for Formally Yours here at Eckerd Connects,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds works with Eckerd Connects, and Marrone is the Outreach Coordinator for the Guardian ad Litem Program in Hillsborough County.

Part of their mission to help teens in foster care is to get them ready to look their best for formal events.

“They’ve been in care, they’ve been in foster care. So this is an opportunity for them to come in, shop, and feel special for a day,” Marrone said.

“What we do is go through them and then we hang them up and eventually our goal will be to color coordinate them,” said Reynolds as she sorted out dresses.

Gowns and suits are just the beginning. Shoes of all styles comes next.

“Our Chucks, our All Stars, our Nikes, wearing them with our homecoming dresses and our short dresses,” explained Reynolds.

While there might be a solid collection of dresses and shoes started, if you walk around you’ll notice the selection for makeup and hair products seems pretty slim.

“What hair product works for one individual may not work for another individual. So what works for my hair might not work for a young lady who is African American.

So we really want to make sure that we’re able to touch all of our teens that are in the community and shopping and giving them the 100 percent ultimate experience,” said Reynolds.

“So much of the time they want to know when they have to bring it back. That’s a moment that you kind of just swallow hard and smile and say you get to keep this,” Marrone said.

Over the past four years, they’ve gotten more than 400 teens feeling their best. This year, they hope to do at least 150 more. Donate below to get involved.

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STORY BY HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY