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Operation Deploy Your Dress

Program has you covered for formal dances, events

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:28PM March 30th, 2017
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If You Go

What: Operation Deploy Your Dress dress and formal wear giveaway.

Where: The old Clarkmoor Elementary School, 2081 S. Division, off Liggett Avenue on Lewis Main.

When: April 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Got an upcoming dance, ball or other fancy event to attend but lacking the formal wear?

Don’t worry, Operation Deploy Your Dress, a free formal wear program, is gearing up for a dress giveaway at the Lewis Community Spouses’ Club’s office located at the old Clarkmoor Elementary School, 2081 S. Division, off Liggett Avenue on Lewis Main, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The site is in the same facility used by JBLM’s Tax Center.

“The main thing is, we want people to be able to find us,” said Andrea Preusker, coordinator of the Lewis Community Spouses’ Club’s Operation Deploy your Dress.

Operation Deploy your Dress is open to service members at specified times based on pay grade — E1s can attend any of the times:

• 10 a.m. to noon is for E1 to E4;

• noon to 2 p.m. is for E1 to E6,

• 2 to 4 p.m. is open for all enlisted and officer ranks.

“We want anyone who needs a dress to get one,” Preusker said.

The intent originally was for male and female spouses and family members to receive free formal wear and accessories at the event; however, at this point donations haven’t made that possible.

“We can’t promise men’s wear, but we’d sure like to get those donated so we could provide them,” Preusker said.

Items began flowing into the Clarkmoor site last fall, when the project was launched. Many more items are needed if Preusker and her workers are to meet the goal of making sure clients receive what they need.

JBLM’s Deploy Your Dress program is modeled after a national event first created by a group of Army spouses at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January 2016. The project — aimed at making sure all spouses and family members have the clothing they need to attend military balls and other formal events — was a big success. A second operation was started at a base in Virginia, after one of the founding members moved to that location. JBLM’s Operation Deploy Your Dress is the third of its kind, and more are expected in the future at other installations across the country.

Although the JBLM Operation Deploy your Dress program hasn’t hit the numbers reached by its sister groups — 5,000 dresses, tuxes and other items were donated to the first Fort Bliss event and Virginia organizers gathered 1,500 dresses — Preusker has high hopes her event will achieve success. Donations are still being accepted for male and female formal wear.

There are currently about 200 dresses and one men’s suit in the inventory.

Preusker isn’t just waiting for local folks to donate a few more dresses. In fact, she got some high profile help recently from Miss Idaho USA Cassie Lewis. On Saturday, Lewis hosted an evening gown collection at the Beauty Institute in Bellingham, Wash., with donated items going to JBLM Operation Deploy your Dress.

Lewis, a former JBLM youth, is also scheduled to be on hand to help out with the April 20 event at JBLM. To donate new or gently used dresses, tuxes or accessories, call Preusker at 210-367-0577.

To register to receive a gown, visit the event’s Facebook page — facebook.com/OperationDeployYourDressJBLM.

People who would like to mail donated gowns may send them to Operation Deploy Your Dress, 2202 Liggett Ave., No. 175, P.O. Box 331400, JBLM, Wash., 98433.

The following are drop off locations for people who’d like to make gown or men’s wear donations:

• LCSC, by appointment only, 2081 S. Division St., on Lewis Main. To make an appointment, email wearitagainLCSC@gmail.com;

• The Cottage Boutique, 2070 Pendleton Rd., Lewis Main, Tuesdays through Thursdays and the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to

2 p m.;

• Veterans Lending Group, 1570 Wilmington Dr., Suite 140, DuPont.