Homecoming dresses donated to Hurricane Harvey victims

An Humble Independent School District freshman is making sure that teen girls impacted by Hurricane Harvey still get the homecoming dress of their dreams.

Ashley Reel, 15, a student at Oak Ridge High School, started a dress drive that grew into something she never expected. She had a goal of collecting 50 homecoming dresses for girls in need after Hurricane Harvey. Ashley was pleasantly surprised when thousands of dress donations poured in from throughout the U.S..

"I just want to help other people that are my age," said Ashley.

It was early September, not long after the hurricane, when Ashley made a post on Facebook and Nextdoor about her new Hurricane Harvey Homecoming Dress Drive. She asked people to donate their dresses.

"I just thought it'd be something nice to do, even though it's not something really big, it can just help them out," said Ashley. She had hopes of getting a few dozen dresses for girls at Kingwood High School, a campus hit hard by the hurricane.

"I was really surprised," recalls Ashley. "There was one week in September where...I was on the phone with my mom, and a new surprise came up like, oh, you're going to get 300 dresses, you're going to get 500 dresses, then one time I called her. She's like, 'Oh you have a thousand dresses at home that were just donated.'"

Ashley's mother, Tammy Reel, says a whopping 3,600 dresses were donated from strangers throughout the nation.

"Here we are a month later, and it's snowballed into something absolutely amazing," said Tammy.

The thousands of dresses were stocked at Pump It Up in Kingwood. With a larger supply than anticipated, Ashley is offering the dresses to not just Kingwood teens, but any girl in need. Each day this week, girls have stopped by to pick out a dress.

"Something as devastating as Harvey has brought something so beautiful," said Tammy "When you see the looks on these girls' faces, and the moms come in, and the moms tear up," said Tammy. "We've had dads come in and the dads are tearing up."

Tammy says so far this week, more than 800 girls have stopped in to pick out a homecoming dress. Tammy says Thursday was the final night of dress donations. Volunteers helped girls pick out dresses from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Pump It Up.

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