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Grande for Grads spawns out of Fort McMurray initiative

A lot of items were lost in the Fort McMurray wildfire including grad and wedding gowns and some locals wanted to help.

Grande Prairie’s Kim Tremblay of Kimberly’s Boutique says that the conversation all started on Facebook and got bigger from there.

“We were all talking about the fact that they had missed their graduation because grad was cancelled for all of the high schools. We knew some girls had lost their homes completely. Others, even if they could get back in, their dresses were destroyed.”

Altogether they have collected over 4000 dresses for the cause from across Canada. They were originally being kept in a donated storage space in Leduc but will now be spread around the province. Any Fort McMurray evacuee can show ID anywhere that is providing the dresses and get their gown for free.

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There were around 900 graduates fitted this year alone.

“For us this is the easiest way to reach out, it was a case of reaching out to our suppliers and see what we could put together. I think it has worked quite well.”

Each city that is holding dresses has decided to do their own separate projects. Tremblay teamed up this week with local photographer Keanne Rudrum and a hairdresser to draw attention to the collection of gowns. They spent Tuesday and Wednesday taking the shots and had volunteers of all shapes and sizes participate. They had 15 model volunteers the first night and approximately 9 the next night.

On top of providing gowns for Fort Mac evacuees up until the 2018 grads, they will also be allowing grads in Grande Prairie to access the gowns if they are in financial hardship. Anyone who may not have the means to purchase a brand new dress could get one from the boutique.

Kimberly’s Closet is run out of Tremblay’s house which provides the modelling industry with props and clothing for photo shoots.

The dress initiative was also featured in a small snippet of an article in MacLeans Magazine.

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