Melissa's Closet & Crystal's Jewelry Box return to make prom dreams come true



It isn’t easy to turn tragedy into something meaningful.

But for the past several years, organizer’s at Melissa’s Closet and Crystal’s Jewelry Box have been able to make prom dreams come true for hundreds of high school students, all to honor two former Reed-Custer High School students.

Melissa Michalowski and Crystal Carr were both seniors at RCHS when they were killed in a car accident in December 2008.

Melissa had worked at Whitmore Ace Hardware in Braidwood, where she was known to be a bright and shining employee who came to work happy every day.

The staff at Whitmore Ace Hardware felt the urge to do something in Melissa’s memory. After discussing the high cost of prom with other teen employees, the workers decided to create the Melissa’s Closet and Crystal’s Jewelry Box event.

The first year, organizers were excited to have 120 dresses, in a small event held at RCHS.

The event continued to grow, collecting more dresses and accessories, and moving to larger venues.

Now, the event has become a once-a-year day of dress up and dreams come true, dressing more 1,250 girls for prom, all for just $5 a dress.

More than 100 volunteers help out at the annual event, which now takes place at Godley Park District each March. In 2015, a scholarship fund was also established.

As this year’s event approaches, organizers are again seeking dress donations. Long and short formal gowns, preferably from 2015 to new, as well as accessories, jewelry, purses and shoes, are needed. Dresses should be clean, on hangers, and in excellent condition.

Local drop off locations include:

    • Whitmore Ace Hardware at 1105 S. Water St., Wilmington, and 237 N. Front St., Braidwood;
    • Quality Auto Body, 97 N. 1st Ave., Coal City;
    • Fossil Ridge Public Library, 386 W. Kennedy Rd., Braidwood;
    • The Free Press Newspapers, 111 S. Water St., Wilmington, and 271 S. Broadway, Coal CIty;
    • Our Caring Closet, 205 First St., Wilmington;
    • Coal City Public Library, 85 N. Garfield St., Coal City;
    • Godley Park District, 500 S. Kankakee St., Godley; and
    • All participating churches.

The dress sale will be Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Godley Park District, 500 S. Kankakee St. All dresses will be $5 the day of the sale.

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