STATE ROAD — The Sisters in Christ ladies group at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church is embarking on a new mission project. Working with an organization called One Voice, the women have developed the Esther Project to provide prom dresses for girls in need in West Virginia.
For more than 20 years Sisters in Christ has been meeting for Bible study and fellowship. “We try to do community programs and mission projects,” said Debbie Garner, organizer of the campaign, explaining that two separate projects the group was involved with came together creating a new idea.
The prom dress project began as a community program, serving 10 girls the first year. The group kept the event discreet, being careful to protect the participants from any embarrassment associated with not being able to afford a new dress. “We had a lot of dresses for the girls to choose from, and every girl that came found her perfect dress,” said Garner, calling the event a success.
Extra dresses were stored at the church for future events, however no other events were held. “We did not have a lot of participation,” said Garner, explaining why the project was not continued for local girls.
In the meantime, church members had developed a relationship with One Voice in West Virginia. According to its website, One Voice is a non-profit Christian ministry devoted to empowering people and their families to become happy, healthy and whole in both their physical and spiritual lives.
Supplying bottled water during a water crisis and participation in a community event providing backpacks with school supplies are among the projects the Pleasant Ridge took on for One Voice. “At the time we had a band in our church, and they went and performed at the event,” said Garner, adding “it was a really good thing.”
With leftover dresses from the last collection at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church and a great need in West Virginia, the two groups are now coming together to offer the Esther Project, named for the biblical queen of Persia. While the Sisters in Christ are collecting formal gowns and accessories, Debra Curry-Davis, director of One Voice, is organizing an event for girls to prepare for prom.
The Sisters and other volunteers will make the three-hour drive, delivering dresses to One Voice on April 2. The day will consist of a brunch meal, dress fittings, and accessorizing. In addition, the girls will be invited back on the day of their prom for a complete makeover with gown, hair, and make-up.
“We are collecting gently used prom dresses, jewelry, and even shoes,” said Garner, explaining that they hope to provide a complete ensemble for each girl. Donations may be brought to Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, at 1997 Pleasant Ridge Road in State Road. Calling 336-874-2875 in advance to ensure someone is there is recommended. Donations are needed by March 19.
“We’d love to hold another event in our own community, if we could get more participation,” said Garner, noting that interested parties may contact her through the church.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.