USO provides gowns for princesses to attend ball

27 Oct 2009 | Marine Cpl. Jessica L. Martinez

With ball season right around the corner, once again women have the chance to be a princess for a night. Unfortunately not everyone has a fairy godmother on hand, who with the wave of her magic wand can put these princesses into beautiful gowns for an evening with their “prince charming.”

Lucky for these women, Jacksonville’s USO is having a dress giveaway Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to provide spouses with not only a gown to have for the magical evening, but the shoes and accessories to complete each princess’ look from head to toe. This event is free to all military ID card holders.

“All the items we’ve received have been donated from other military spouses, volunteers and the community,” said Shannan Wesley, assistant director for the Jacksonville USO. “We have had a tremendous amount of support from everyone. This is the first year for the USO to host this event. We want to be able to continue with this program for years to come.”

The USO is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve and support America's military and their families. 

“The USO of North Carolina wants to help spouses who want to attend the balls, but do to financial obligations might not be able to afford a gown,” said Wesley. “It’s important we show our support for military families, not just active duty.”

Wesley said they have an array of dresses such as cocktail gowns, evening gowns that are long and form fitting and short and sexy gowns as well. There are gowns with sequins, beautiful prints, glitter and solid colors. There are also strappy, elegant shoes, wraps and jewelry available.

For women who stop by the USO Saturday, they will get to choose one lovely evening gown, a pair of shoes, as well as a jewelry set to finish their look for their fairy-tale evening.

“We hope that it will be a program that spouses over the years will want to use,” said Wesley. “Those that have received gowns from here, we would like to see them give back to the program as the years pass to help the new spouses to the military life.”

Those unfamiliar with where the USO is located can find it on 9 Tallman St. in downtown Jacksonville.

For more information about the gown giveaway or the USO, call 455-3411.