Young girls in the community don’t have to spend hundreds on a special dress this formal season, thanks to Lisa Padilla.
Padilla recently started collecting new and gently used gowns from others as part of her inaugural Rent-A-Gown event. Donated dresses will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 4 and the event will be hosted Friday, Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of Basi Insurance on East G Street. Donated dresses may be dropped off at the Basi office Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Padilla shared she was first inspired to do this several years ago when she was teaching a youth group at her church. A student had shared she was excited to be invited to prom but wouldn’t be able to attend because dresses were too expensive. Padilla lent the young woman one of her gowns so that she could attend.
“This has been on my mind for several years,” the office manager of Basi Insurance shared. “For whatever reason, I feel like the good Lord’s pushing me to do it now.”
The organizer shared she felt with inflation and so many things going up, there was no time like the present.
Before launching the idea, however, she shared it with her son who is a junior at Oakdale High, as well as spoke with friend Cher Bairos, and her parents, Karen and Randy Basi. Each were encouraging, as well as supportive.
“It’s my first time. I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said of launching the event early this month on her social media page.
Now with close to 100 shares and lots of interest coming her way, Padilla would love to have more dresses donated for the event. Currently she’s received approximately 50 formal dresses, ranging in size from XS to size 20.
“I think it’s going to be great. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback,” she said of the upcoming event.
The organizer shared that gowns will be $50 to rent. If the dress is returned in good condition, $25 will be returned; the other $25 will be used for dry cleaning. If the gown is returned dry cleaned, 100 percent of the money will be returned.
“That’s the only reason that I’m charging, because I want to do this again,” she said of the cleaning fee and deposit. “If they bring the dress back dry cleaned, they’ll get 100 percent of their money back.”
Padilla shared she’s not looking to make money, but rather cover the expenses to clean so that they may be shared in the future.
While the idea was launched for the young girl going to formal, Padilla has also been approached by ladies looking for gowns for a wedding or special event. Not one to turn a person away, they too have been accommodated for their event.
The community member and founder of Rent-A-Gown stated she believes we’re currently living in some dark times with a lot of negativity and high costs rising. That being said she felt, why not put something out there that is good and positive.
“I just want to help,” Padilla shared, beaming at her inventory of dresses. “I just want to put a smile on somebody’s face. If that means I get to help somebody go to prom because they couldn’t otherwise afford it, then that’s great. That’s a memory, you don’t get that back.”
Reviewing the inventory of gowns receive thus far, Padilla shared stories of a father “cleaning out a closet,” or a friend sending some from out of state. Most gowns have been worn once or not at all.
“I am a service-oriented person. I love to serve, just because I love it,” Padilla concluded. “I love people, I love the community, I love giving back.”
Basi Insurance is at 1491 E. G St., Oakdale. For additional questions or information call or text Padilla at (209) 345-9218.