A Texas teen is keeping high school students who were affected by Hurricane Harvey from missing their homecoming dance.
Ashley Reel, 15, of Spring, Texas, began a homecoming dress drive immediately after the deadly storm. Since then, she’s gathered over 2,000 dress donations.
“It wasn’t really fair for them to not be able to go to homecoming because of the flooding down here, so I thought it would be something nice to do for them,” Ashley told ABC News. “Some people lost everything so I thought giving them a dress would help them through it.”
Ashley is a freshman at Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, Texas, just outside of Houston. Luckily, Ashley’s house was not damaged by Harvey, but she was sad to learn that some of her classmates and kids in the surrounding areas did lose their homes and belongings, said Ashley’s mom, Tammy Reel.
“[Ashley] said, ‘I want to help people my age,'” Reel told ABC News of her daughter. “Then she heard about a woman down on the other side of Houston who was collecting dresses.”
Ashley decided to start collecting gowns on her own. Her original goal of 50 dresses was surpassed by 300 in her first week of accepting donations.
Donors have contributed from across the country and as far as Germany. Ashley has so far helped 20 girls find dresses who attend high schools across the Houston area.
“It’s one less thing they don’t have to stress about,” said Marilyn Mann, community engagement specialist at Kingwood High School in Houston, whose students will receive gowns. “Ashley wants to empower young ladies. She wants them to feel like a princess.”
Ashley advertises her effort on a Facebook page by announcing events at local businesses for girls to try on dresses. Some girls make appointments to browse the dozens of racks that Ashley stores inside her home.
“I can’t tell you how many she’s exchanged numbers with,” said Reel. “It’s…