‘Blessed with a Dress’ returns to help young girls in need this homecoming season

A local non-profit donating dresses to young girls in need for occasions like prom, homecoming or formal events.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A local nonprofit is gearing up to provide young girls in the community with gently-used, stylish dresses for prom, homecoming and formal events this year so they won’t miss once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Coordinator Lori Fitkin of Blessed with a Dress said the message behind the organization’s name is simple, they want to bless the community with dresses for those in need while spreading the word of God.

Her vision began about six years ago, right after Hurricane Harvey. Fitkin said she was led to reach out to schools and communities that were hit hard by the storm as a way to bring young girls back to normalcy, not knowing the need would serve a purpose in her own community later down the road.

“Little did we know it was going to happen here a few years later and the need was great in the Lake Charles area and surrounding areas,” Fitkin said.

That is how Blessed with a Dress started in Lake Charles.

“We started with about 100 dresses and ended up with about 600. We would set up twice a year once for homecoming, once for prom, and just give them away for free to anybody who needed them,” she said.

After having to bounce back from storms in Louisiana, the nonprofit took a hiatus. They’re making a return with some generous donations from people like April-Scarlett Manuel.

“So I am from the pageant world, and I have several of my pageant gowns that I used and traveled the state with as visiting queen that aren’t being loved like they could be, so when I heard about the cause I just felt compelled to donate,” Manuel said.

With four locations in Lake Charles and several others in Sulphur and Moss Bluff, donating is simple. Stop by any location with a dress and drop it off in the Blessed with a Dress box.

It’s a gesture Manuel has done with eight of her own dresses, with the hope of doing one thing.

“I don’t want her to feel like a charity case. I want her to feel like she’s special. These gowns are designer gowns that cost, my last competition gown was $1200, so these gowns are not your average. I want them to feel magical in these,” she said.

For more information on how you can get a dress for homecoming season, contact Lori Fitkin at 337-884-6306.

Drop-off locations:

  • Dance Biz: 4011 Common St., Lake Charles
  • Saints & Sinners Studio: 3435 Ryan St., Lake Charles
  • YaYa & Company: 5685 Nelson St., Suite C, Lake Charles
  • Subway/ Giggles: 10077 Gulf Hwy, Lake Charles
  • Prime Occupational Medicine: 2492 South City Service Hwy, Sulphur
  • Mes Amis Cheveux Salon & Spa: 619 South Huntington St., Sulphur.