Homecoming dances are coming up at schools across the county, and for many girls, that means picking out a dress, sometimes at a cost of $100 or more.


Harmony Clothing Closet in Nevada has good news. It has updated its dress exchange, located on the upper level of the main street clothing closet, where all dresses are free of charge. Members of the Nevada High School Dance Team and their coach, Jenny Adelmund, have been sorting through the huge stock of dresses, keeping only those that are currently in style and still appeal to the younger generation.


The dress exchange, which has been in existence for a number of years, and had previously included many types of formal dresses, had outgrown its space when it came to all the vintage styles and dresses for older women — like “mother of the bride” dresses — that were there. Since those dresses were often not borrowed and just taking up space, they were taken out, given to another charity, and the dress exchange is now full of hip and cool dresses with the teenage girl in mind.


“We want everyone to have an enjoyable time at dances, and we can help get that started with a free dress,” said Elizabeth Gindt, a Nevada Schools employee and longtime coordinator of the Harmony Clothing Closet.


“Gently used dresses (and even some with tags still on them that have never been worn) are collected year-round at Harmony,” she said. “If you would like to receive a free dress, anyone is welcome to come and get one. This effort is made possible through invaluable volunteer, donor and community support.”


Gindt said that having Adelmund and the members of the high school dance team involved has helped the dress exchange area tremendously. “They have a great eye for current fashion and big hearts to help others,” she said.


The dance team has recently held open evenings for girls to come in, try on and select dresses, but it should be noted that dresses can be looked at also when Harmony is open for everyone. The closet hours are Monday evenings, 4:30-7 p.m. and Thursday evenings, 4:30-7 p.m. Girls interested in dresses may ask to go upstairs and spend time looking through the stock of gowns.


Short dresses, which many prefer for homecoming, are located on one side of the room, and long dresses, which most like to wear to prom, are located on the other side. There are many dresses in a full range of colors and sizes, from very small to large and plus.


The dress exchange also has some current sandals and footwear that can be borrowed, but it is in need of more sandals and other accessories, like jewelry, that can go with the gowns. Anyone who has items like this is encouraged to consider a donation. Donations can also be made during Harmony’s open hours.


It is also important to Gindt to make it clear — free dresses are available to girls that go to any high school, not just Nevada. “We encourage youth from other communities to come and get a dress as well.”