Operation Deploy Your Dress has a new chapter in Fort Polk

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – There’s a new way for you to help out the Fort Polk military community while you clean out your closet. A chapter of Operation Deploy Your Dress is now located in Fort Polk. It is a non-profit organization that helps military families by providing free dresses and accessories for balls and galas.

“The only downside is that military proms are very expensive, so adding a $500 dress can really add up to that bill,” said Emily McGruder, president of the Fort Polk Spouses and Community Club.

Shoes, makeup, accessories, and of course, a dress — all of these expenses add up for military spouses looking to attend their next prom.

“Especially young families can be on a tight budget, so that works along with tickets to a ball, a hotel, food for childcare and so on — it’s going to be super expensive so we’re hoping to ease that financial burden,” McGruder said .

That’s why Emily McGruder, a military woman herself, along with other members of the Fort Polk Spouses and Community Club, pushed this idea and brought the 13th chapter of Operation Deploy Your Dress to the Army base. McGruder said they’ve already collected over 500 dresses in their first month.

“Once our building is approved, we will have a proper clothing boutique,” McGruder said. “It’s going to be top notch, not just patched together. This is a very isolated base and so we want to be able to offer something quality to family members and female service members or even the men because we will have suits and tuxedos.”

ODYD only approves one new site per year. McGruder said they put in many hours to make this happen, even securing a $10,000 grant, but the work was worth it in bringing a glamorous one to those in an industry that is anything but glamorous evening to offer.

“Military life is tough,” McGruder said. “Sometimes your husband is out in the field for months or weeks, so it’s a great time to get together and celebrate Army traditions and relax a little.”

The organization operates from a temporary location until its main facility is secured. McGruder said they hope to have that done by May.

A soft opening will take place on April 2nd and 3rd from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Warrior Center. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

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