More than 500 dresses and 100 suits collected by the Gowns4Grads program have been stolen.
“To say we are devastated is an understatement! We have graduates and their families that rely on this program for their formal wear for one of the biggest days of their lives,” Trenville R.P.Elks#248 Gowns4Grads program posted on X.
The gowns, suits, 10 dress racks, mirrors, shoes, room dividers and accessories were in a white trailer that was stolen in Elnora sometime between noon and 1:30 p.m. last Saturday afternoon. Dresses were stored in 15 red or blue 189-litre Sterlite stacker totes.
The 12-by-six-foot trailer is white with licence number 4491-37. It has a ramp-style rear door and a side door on the passenger side. An I “heart symbol” Alberta Beef sticker on the back door.
Gowns4Grads is asking central Albertans to be on the lookout for the trailer and the clothes. They fear that the trailer thieves may dump them by the side of a road.
Red Deer’s Your Story Fitness owner Brenda Rowland knows the family who owns the property the trailer was stolen from and immediately stepped up to help.
“It’s very unfortunate. It’s a selfish thing that happened to a very selfless program,” she said.
“The hard part is (the clothes) are just going to get thrown away. The people who stole the trailer don’t care about the gowns.”
She is collecting dresses, suits, pant hangars and clothing racks at her fitness business at 4736 50th Street.
Drop-offs can be made 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m on weekdays and by appointment on weekends. Rowland can be reached at 403-505-4636.
Rowland said people should not worry about donating clothes that they think might be out of style.
“You don’t need to worry about it being super-current because things come in and out of style all the time and different people have different styles.”
A 1970s bridesmaid dress was dropped off on Monday, and retro-style men’s jackets from around the same era have also come in.
“Somebody will find something cool and vintage to do with it.”
Rowland will be collecting clothes up until Feb. 20, when local grads will first get an opportunity to make their picks at Red Deer’s Elks Hall at 6315 Horn Street. Clothes can be picked up 1-5 p.m. on Feb. 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 22.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Three Hills RCMP at 403-443-5538.