Some students are getting help finding grad outfits they can afford.
Located in Sherwood Park, the organization Gowns4Grads has grad gowns and suits that students can try on and take for free.
The organization started five years ago and is run by the Sherwood Park Elks. As part of their policy, they don't ask any questions when people are there looking to get a dress or suit. They've had students from as far as Lloydminster and High Prairie come look at outfits.
"Whether they can afford a new or used suit or not doesn't matter," said Elks member Leonard Shain. "We're not asking where they come from we don't care. We're there to support anyone that needs it."
Students like Katie Waldo, whose family is currently down to one income, have been able to look through the large variety of dresses to find one that suits them.
"My husband works in the oil field, so he's been off since September," explained her mother Crystal. "Realistically, she's only going to be in the dress for a few hours, so it's not worth spending $300 on a dress."
The organization has over 1,000 dresses of different colours, styles and sizes to choose from, as well as about 150 suits. Some of the gowns still have price tags on them and are worth up to $900.
Katie was able to find a black and pink flowery dress that fit her perfectly.
"I honestly didn't know that it was free  I thought we have to make a donation or gowns would be a minimal price type of thing. But free was even better," added Crystal.
More people are beginning to buy into the idea and donate their grad attire. According to Shain, they are receiving more than twice the amount of dresses than they are giving away.
"The community is really getting behind this and supporting it," he said.
The Elks are always looking for more donations and volunteers to help people who come in looking for grad wear.
Gowns4Grads is open every second Thursday and weekends. It is located at 3001 Buckingham Drive, Unit 140.

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