Formal fits for free at EC

By Mia Randall, Editor in Chief and Emme Hogge, Assoicate Editor

On March 17 and 18, El Camino held Thrift the Runway in the cafeteria to create a free alternative to prom shopping for all students.

There were a number of different clothing items offered, including dresses and suits, jewelry, ties, makeup, shoes and more. 

Organized by Parent/Family Support Advocate Lesley Leatherwood, Thrift the Runway started last year and was held during lunch. This time, they decided to do it after school and over the weekend. 

Leatherwood explained her motivation for introducing Thrift the Runway to EC.

“With [the COVID-19 pandemic], there were a lot more families who found themselves in need—people that thought they would probably never need anything—lost their jobs. So it’s a struggle when students have to pay for everything [when it comes to junior prom and senior ball],” she said.

Leatherwood was originally involved with a non-profit organization that held an event similar to EC’s Thrift the Runway. Last year, that organization dissolved and handed all the clothes they had acquired to Leatherwood. In order to keep this event at EC, all donations are encouraged and appreciated. 

“They say if you help even just one person, it’s a good deed. On Friday, we had about seven or eight dresses that left with young ladies. One gentleman took a blazer and some button up shirts,” Leatherwood said.

Volunteer Alanakai Pascual (‘23) was one of the students involved in putting on the event and believed it would have probably gotten more attention if the advertising was more widespread.

“The people who did come were very happy—I just hope next time more people come because I don’t think most people realized it was free, so we’re going to have to do more advertising,” Pascual said.

A lot of money goes into the upperclassmen dances and tickets cost more—students are expected to dress well for the occasion and some students may have difficulty doing so, depending on their financial situation. Pascual encourages students to donate their old clothes and give them another life, rather than letting them collect dust in closets. 

“We buy prom dresses and we wear them once and keep them just to look at them—someone else could have that and we could give it to someone who needs it and can’t afford it,” Pascual said. 

Angelo Cruz (‘23), also a volunteer, explained that this year’s Thrift the Runway was a lot more organized than it had been in previous years. There were flyers around the school advertising the event and volunteer opportunities. However, less students were aware of it because it was not held during lunch like it had been the year before. Cruz believed that having the event during lunch gave students a greater incentive to attend. 

Thrift the Runway is being held again before EC’s Senior Ball on April 28 during lunch and after school that gives everyone, regardless of financial situation, the chance to shop for formal clothing. If you’re interested in volunteering for the next Thrift the Runway, or are a junior who would still like to look at the clothing selection, talk to Leatherwood in the Community and Family Engagement Office (CAFE) next to the Records Office.

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