SEMINOLE, Fla. - Susan Schwartz founded the Belle of the Ball Project, a charity that gives girls in need prom and homecoming dresses for a donation of $1 to $5. And if they can't afford that, it's free.
"To see a girl who cannot afford a dress be able to go to homecoming or prom in a beautiful dress means a lot to me it," said Schwartz. "Ten years later, I still cry about it."
In the decade since she began, close to 3,000 girls have felt like a princess in one of the donated gowns. Schwartz makes sure they are like new and many actually are.
Watching our report, Schwartz saw three choices picked out by Georgette's Boutique and Shoe Salon. The one you pick will be worn by me on Oscar night at the Tampa Theatre and then brought here to Seminole.
Schwartz, who appreciates the exposure the event provides, hopes it helps more girls like high school senior Megan Leclair.
Megan picked a homecoming gown last year and is back for prom.
"It was very exciting to go out and look that pretty, and know that I got it for nothing," Leclair said.
The charity's mission moved Maryah Hansen so much that two years after getting a gown she's back volunteering.
"That's the best part about it. When they find a dress that they look absolutely amazing in. That is what gets me really excited," said Hansen.
The charity also lets the girls pick shoes, purses and jewelry. Schwartz and her volunteers work with each girl to find the perfect outfit.
"Bringing awareness to our organization and what we do for teen girls and helping them realize they can look like a beautiful star!" Schwartz said.
To learn more about the charity, click here .
We have also listed some of the guidelines below:
What the charity accepts:
New or fairly new, gently worn prom, homecoming, cocktail, bridesmaids and party dresses.
Shoes, jewelry, purses and accessories.
Items most needed:
Plus-size dresses, shoes, purses and jewelry.
Drop off locations:
Belle of The Ball, during distribution hours only.
11201 Park Blvd. N., Seminole
Next to Ross Department Store
Caladesi Plaza, 1010 Curlew Road, Dunedin
Cornerstone Bank locations
6300 Fourth St. N., 727-526-5678
6600 Central Ave., 727-344-5577
5800 38th Ave. N., 727-343-0727
7800 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, 727-399-2345
12933 Walsingham Road, Largo, 727-596-2323
3320 E. Bay Drive, Largo, 727-530 7900
Tampa Bay Rental Solutions
1267 Court Street, Clearwater
727-400-6990 (Ext. 253)