More than 70 dresses were added to the Belle of Ball program's closet after its donation drive Aug. 10.
"Today we increased our dress inventory by 40 percent by holding this dress drive," said Kay Zobrist, who co-organizes the free special occasion dress loan program with another wing commander's spouse, Heather Higby. Zobrist is the spouse of Col. Scott Zobrist, 388th Fighter Wing commander, and Higby is the spouse of 75th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Patrick Higby.
The two program coordinators set up the donation drive outside of the Base Theater, Building 441, where the dress loan program currently operates. They displayed a banner and table full of freshly baked cookies to give to all donors, but Zobrist and Higby noted most of their unexpected donations were due to the extra notice they received from the formally-dressed mannequin, lent to them by Army and Air Force Exchange Services and prominently displayed on the nearby sidewalk.
"It was gracious of AAFES to lend the mannequin to us for this event," said Higby. "It gave us extra visibility and advertisement for our free program."
Higby and Zobrist said the donation drive received support from many of Hill Air Force Base's wings. "It was a Team Hill supported event. Not only did we have representation from the 75th Air Base Wing and the 388th Fighter Wing, but we also had representation from the Ogden Air Logistics Center," said Higby.
For example, Tomi Busch, spouse of Maj. Gen. Andrew Busch, OO-ALC commander, prepared more than five dozen cookies that were individually decorated to resemble ball gowns. These cookies were given to donors throughout the day and the program coordinators said it also provided a visual brand to the program.
"We had such great success in letting more people know about this great program as well as obtaining a beautiful collection of dresses for all sizes and ages," added Zobrist.
A few dresses that were donated were high-end, name brand gowns with price tags still attached, indicating they had never been previously worn. "We have gowns and dresses that range from modest, to modern, to formal," said Higby.
However, the dress loan program still lacks one type of formal dress, said Zobrist. "We are currently seeking special occasion maternity dresses."
Other donations Zobrist and Higby received were extra volunteers for the program. "We now have a few more volunteers and we hope to have enough people to help in time for the Air Force Ball," said Zobrist.
The program also received a special discount on dry cleaning courtesy of Jesse Roundy from Country Cleaners in Layton. "A special price for dry cleaning is available for those who use a dress through our program and take their dress to Country Cleaners before returning the dress."
Details of the special discount on dry cleaning are given to the program users when they sign out a dress.
For those with base access who wish to set up an appointment to view dresses or to volunteer to help with the Belle of the Ball program, call Zobrist at (801) 525-8332.
Zobrist said the program is continually accepting donations throughout the year, as well.