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400 dresses. 70 smiling girls (8 photos)

Monday, March 24, 2014   by: Donna Hopper

More than 70 young ladies attended the first ever Operation All Dressed Up event at the Water Tower Inn this past Saturday afternoon.

An initiative designed to foster self esteem and ease financial strain on area struggling families, Operation All Dressed Up offered Grade 8 and Grade 12 students in the Algoma region the opportunity to take home one of more than 400 donated formal gowns for upcoming graduation ceremonies.

Coordinated by Sault Ste. Marie OPP Constable Monique Baker and Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Constable Alison Kirkpatrick (pictured), the event also offered free accessories, including shoes, purses, hosiery, and jewelry.

"It's been somewhat emotional," Cst. Baker told "We've had girls that have come in that are homeless or have had rough lives. It's so nice to see them smile."

In addition to the donated dresses and accessories, each participating girl was given a free Sault College hair and esthetician program appointment to have their hair and makeup done the day of graduation.

They also received a free graduation portrait courtesy of Kevanna Studios.

"I think a lot of the girls were quite surprised when they walked in and saw the choices and what was offered," Cst Baker said. "They weren't quite expecting this. And in reality, neither were we."

She said the event will be an annual initiative presented by Crime Stoppers.

"This is Crime Stoppers' way of giving back to the community," she told us. "And it's a way for Alison and I to interact with youth. We're both police officers, so it's also a way for us to mentor these girls. They can see us not only in our roles as law enforcement, but also as human beings. We're women and we enjoy this stuff too."

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Jay Bee 3/24/2014 12:19:36 PM Report

such an awesome idea...way to go to all who were involved. These type of stories should be front page headlines all the time. Congrats.
asp 3/24/2014 12:25:24 PM Report

Great Idea but this was the first time I heard of this, and I know alot of girls needing dresses now and thru the years. I had puchased some for girls. Now I know about this I will recommend this to them. Sometime the people get picked for these events are usually people in a close circle.
RobMel 3/24/2014 12:25:26 PM Report

what a wonderful thing to do for this community. Thank you to all that helped with this event. I would love to help next year. I bet I could round up some nice stuff for next year!
Wicket 3/24/2014 12:33:43 PM Report

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the person(s) who had the idea, put into place and followed through.
Awesome and inspiring - these young women will appreciate and benefit more than most will imagine. Learning that a stranger cares for you, will help you, will make you feel better about yourself, will also enable them to pay it forward in future years.
kamen 3/24/2014 2:13:32 PM Report

Not having a dress is why I didn't go to Prom....nice they decided to do this and let some girls have their memories positive....
Pakadeva 3/24/2014 2:20:44 PM Report

Awesome story!!!!
Police officers do a lot more than most people are aware of! All these young women will feel more like they can trust our officers to help them, if they ever find themselves in any bad situation in the future. This really is a PIF & thanks for all who worked to arrange this. Advertise it more next year, maybe people will donate funds or gift cards for graduation dinners, etc. The more involved, the more happy young ladies we will encourage in this city.
To the officers involved, thanks for making the Soo a better city because of your special efforts! Bravo!
deerhunter 3/24/2014 2:40:50 PM Report

Just wondering if these girls are also getting their alterations done for free or do they need to pay
Prrrrrrr 3/24/2014 3:27:58 PM Report

Those are the smart girls, they'll be better dressed then the ones whose parents are footing the bill:) Awesome program.
Prrrrrrr 3/24/2014 3:31:05 PM Report

asp, This event was well advertised.
coy 3/25/2014 3:50:43 AM Report

Wow this city does have angels. Good Job
Crime Stoppers 3/25/2014 10:52:27 AM Report

@deerhunter - Quality Cleaners & Tailors in Sault Ste. Marie are covering the cost of cleaning the dresses, tailoring the dresses, and they are also assisting Crime Stoppers by storing any remaining dresses for next year. The service they are providing is completely free for the graduates, their families, and Crime Stoppers. Thank you Quality Cleaners & Tailors (and all other sponsors).
deerhunter 3/25/2014 6:00:38 PM Report

Awesome Job Quality Cleaners and their staff Good people in our community
JessieMay 3/25/2014 8:26:59 PM Report

Awesome Job quality cleaners staff and all other,s for their donations.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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