Woman helps students shine on the night of the big dance

Woman helps students shine on the night of the big dance

Dances like homecoming and prom mean a night of fun for high school students. Ladies are dressed up in beautiful gowns, and gentlemen are in tuxedos. But for many students, the cost of these fancy duds is quite prohibitive. Wanda Lucas of Bunker Hill wants to relieve that worry so all kids can enjoy a fun and fancy evening.

Lucas has been running a non-profit organization called The Cinderella Affair—a store where high schoolers can pick out prom and homecoming attire at no charge— for several years now.

“The Cinderella Affair is totally free to all in need,” she explained. “We don’t ask for money or donations of any kind from the boys and girls. We do not want them to feel obligated to pay and I don’t want the kids to worry about money.”

The headquarters for The Cinderella Affair is at E Morgan St., Bunker Hill, which is Lucas’s house. “The dresses have took up my house,” she said, laughing.

Lucas estimates that she has about 4,000 dresses. “That’s not even all of it. I have at least 1,000 pairs of shoes, I have at least 100 suits for men. I have jewelry, handbags and purses,” she said.

The Cinderella Shop not only does school events, but also has bride’s maids dresses available, as well as other formal clothing.

She still claims that she doesn’t have enough. “We never have enough dresses, shoes, jewelry or evening bags,” Lucas said. “We got over 500 girls ready for dances and proms last year. We desperately need dresses, especially in the very small sizes — 0 or 00 — and the larger sizes 20 and over.”

Lucas has a crew of volunteers whom she credits with keeping things running smoothly. “If it wasn’t for my volunteers, nothing would have been as organized,” she said.

Lucas is also a seamstress who makes the dress fit the model. “I make sure that every dress is age appropriate for the girls wearing the dress, and that the dress is appropriate for the dance the girl is attending.”

“I ask that each girl call and make an appointment, so I can dedicate the time she needs to her and her alone,” Lucas explained. “She can bring her mother, grandmother or friend, but I want to spend as much time as she needs to pick out the perfect dress and accessories. At her first appointment, she chooses a dress, shoes, jewelry, strapless bras, hoops and wraps. I put all that in a bag with her name on it, and hang it up so no one else can wear the same dress. The second time she comes in is the day of the dance.”

Apparel is not the only thing that Lucas does for girls heading to a formal dance. On the day of the dance, Lucas has what she calls, “Pamper Day”.

“My army (of volunteers) is set up at different stations either doing hair, makeup, or nails,” she enthused.

That’s not all that goes on on pamper day. “We provide breakfast and lunch for the girls because they are going to be there for most of the day as we sometimes get up to 70 girls for homecoming.”

Word of Lucas’s services has spread, and she is now getting girls and boys from farther away from Macupin and Madison counties. “This last year I have had people from St. Louis, up to Springfield, Staunton, Carlyle and all in between. It amazes me how they know where I am at, but I am happy. The more people I get to help, the better it makes me feel.”

She starts tearing up. “I am thankful for everyone who helps me make these girl’s and boy’s event, a wonderful, rememberable night.”

Lucas can be reached at 618-520-6521. Anything from dresses, evening bags, shoes, jewelry can be donated to Wanda.