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Heart of Polk: Fairy Godmother Linda Crews

Heart of Polk: Fairy Godmother Linda Crews

Fairy Godmothers offers dresses for $10 and accessories for $2 to $6.

Linda Crews is determined to help as many local girls as possible get dresses they might not otherwise be able to buy.

By
THE LEDGER
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:43 a.m.

For many girls, the high school prom is a dreamy, magical event. The reality, though, is that attending the prom is an expensive proposition, and some girls miss their proms because they can’t afford gloriously gauzy gowns.

That’s where Linda Crews of Lake Hamilton comes into the picture. With the prom season fast approaching, Crews is determined to help as many local girls as possible get dresses they might not otherwise be able to buy.

Last year, Crews became a local affiliate of Fairy Godmothers, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides gowns and accessories at minimal cost for high school students. Crews, 48, has a space in the Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, where she accepts donations and allows girls to choose dresses.

Fairy Godmothers offers dresses for $10 and accessories for $2 to $6.

Crews, who owns Kaden’s Lawn Service, volunteers her time and gets help from other volunteers.

“I just love the idea of girls getting these beautiful dresses,” she said.

Fairy Godmothers Inc. was founded in 2001 by a woman in Pennsylvania. The organization now has chapters in five other states, including Florida, Crews said.

Crews, a mother and grandmother, said she learned about the organization during a visit to her native Virginia and got in touch with the leader of an existing chapter in Fort Myers. Last year was the first time Crews participated. Despite a late start, she said she helped provide dresses for girls at Mulberry High and Bartow High.

This year, Crews expects to assist girls at more schools. She said she aims to provide dresses to at least 100 students.

Crews said she became pregnant while in high school and did not attend her school’s prom. She said her involvement with Fairy Godmothers is a way of compensating for what she missed.

“Not only did I not attend my prom, I live in an area where I notice girls are not doing this kind of thing,” Crews said. “I had a senior say, ‘I’m not going to my prom because I can’t afford to go,’ so I told her I would help her this year. I just wanted girls to have that opportunity. It’s a rite of passage.”

Many of the dresses are discontinued designs donated by major retailers, including the chain David’s Bridal, Crews said. Scanning the price tags of her inventory on a recent morning, she said some dresses list for as much as $480.

Crews said she is accepting dresses, new makeup and jewelry, as well as monetary donations. She said all donations are tax-deductible.

Fairy Godmothers occupies a retail space in Eagle Ridge Mall near Sears and Dillard’s. Crews can also be reached at fairygodmothersinc.florida@gmail.com.

[ Heart of Polk profiles residents who give back to the community in a variety of ways. To nominate someone, please write to Jennifer Audette, The Ledger, P.O. Box 408, Lakeland 33802 or email features@theledger.com. ]

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