Tracey Fawcett loves playing fairy godmother. “You shall go to the ball,” she says, as she waves her imaginary wand.
For the second year in a row, the Vector Group Charitable Trust is helping Te Puke High School students get to their school ball by running a pop-up ball shop, with donated items such as ball dresses and suits, shoes and jewellery, handbags and perfume.
It will also run a ‘beauty shop’ on the day of the ball, where girls and boys can get hair and make-up done at low cost thanks to donations from local hairdressers and beauticians.
“We use this opportunity to make them feel really valued,: says Tracey. “We take photos, have a toast with a glass of juice and a cupcake and make it special.”
Over the past two years, about 140 outfits have been donated to the shop with people able to borrow for a small koha to cover the cost of dry-cleaning.
The Te Puke High School ball is a big deal in the town. Come July 28, the main street will be lined with spectators as the students arrive at the memorial hall for their big night.
“Te Puke High School really celebrates its students,” says Tracey. “The streets are closed and we watch them arrive on the red carpet in their cool cars or on the back of a tractor.”
The idea of the pop-up ball shop is to help those who may not be able to afford an outfit for the ball, or who simply like the idea of recycling and re-using.
About a dozen dresses and suits have already been booked for the night, with more students lining up appointments to view.
The shop is also available to lend outfits for theatrical purposes and people in the community who need an outfit for a special occasion. Vector Group also has future plans for a community ball in the town.
If you would like to sponsor a student to have hair and make-up done for the ball, or have some dressmaking skills and would be able to make adjustments to some of the formal wear, contact Tracey at the Vector Group Charitable Trust via: firstname.lastname@example.org