ROCHESTER, Minn. - A few weeks ago, employees at Macy's in Rochester didn't want to throw brand new dresses away after they didn't sell last spring due to many events being canceled. So they decided donating them to families who might not be able to spend the money on them otherwise was a better option.
There was a total of 450 items, worth about $45,000, donated to Highpoint Church so staff there can host an outreach for those who could benefit from it. Co-Senior Pastor, Amy Gustafson, said so many people have come forward to get a dress - single moms and dads bring their children, girls preparing for school dances and women who are longing to feel beautiful in their own skin. She recalled one woman who helped her realize the true meaning behind this outreach and it's more than just the clothes they get for free. "She was actually somebody from more of a challenged, rough drug background who was about to go into treatment and we said, 'come and try on some dresses and pick one out for yourself!' So she did and she came out in tears after trying them on and she said 'I have not felt pretty for years. I haven't felt valuable for years. Thank you so much. This has just made me feel like I have value for the first time in a long time.' So it's just been precious," explained Gustafson.
Not only does this outreach help people in the community, but she said it's also a good reminder to keep things local and give back when you can. "Tt was just a reminder that we need to be supporting our local businesses and purchasing from them rather than just getting things online, which I know is so convenient at times," explained Gustafson. "But when they make an effort to donate so generously to this and to people in our community, I just want to remind everyone to give back to the community, to be buying locally as much as we possibly can." She said this has sparked some ideas within Highpoint Church to create more outreach programs in the community and see what items are needed the most in the future.
There are specific outreach days where you can check out the dresses and the next one is Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m. They ask that you call or email ahead of time to help with social distancing.