For families under financial strain, shopping for special occasions like a school formal can bring about stress.
It’s a big event that often comes with a big price tag.
Enter Bendigo Op Shop Store Manager, Mary-Ann Toner.
In November 2018, Mary-Anne began a formal-wear hire initiative to help ease the burden on parents when it comes to accessing formal attire for their children.
“My son had his school formal and I heard that a lot of girls couldn’t attend because their parents couldn’t afford to buy them outfits,” Mary-Anne said.
“It can be an expensive exercise buying clothing and accessories for a school formal or debutante ball.
“We often have dresses and suits donated to the shop, so we thought we would put them to good use.”
Families can book an appointment in-store to browse the range of dresses, suits, shoes and accessories available for hire at no cost.
Once they choose their look, the op shop volunteers arrange to dry clean the clothes.
The clothing is then collected by the family before the event and returned within seven days.
“It’s a small thing we can do to remove one less worry for local families doing it tough,” Mary-Anne said.
“We’ve got a great range of dresses, suits, shoes, handbags and jewellery, but we’re always in need of more to provide a bigger range of sizes and colours.”