Once upon a time, there were little girls who dreamed of going to their proms, but when the time came, circumstances beyond their control prevented them from enjoying a princess moment. That is, until 2012, when a fairy godmother with a giant heart came to sprinkle fairy dust and make these dreams a reality through non-profit organization Coastal Bend Fairy Godmothers.
When Teresa Hunter gained custody of her 11-year-old niece, she began purchasing dresses from Goodwill and garage sales to fulfill her daughter’s dreams of playing dress-up. After loaning out those dresses to her daughter’s friends, she became known as the “dress lady” in Rockport, and shortly after, “Rockport’s Fairy Godmother.” Hunter then realized the need for a Fairy Godmother was not only in Rockport, but all throughout the Coastal Bend.
Having experienced financial struggle as a child, Hunter saw herself in many of these kids who were unable to attend formal events for financial reasons. This reflection prompted Coastal Bend Fairy Godmothers, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free prom dress, menswear and accessory loans to school-aged individuals.
“Prom dresses are expensive, in addition to the prom ticket, and it’s isolating to not have the opportunity to attend,” Hunter said. “People think that since these kids can’t afford to attend prom, they don’t need to go, which is not true at all.”
When Hunter needed surgery earlier this year, she knew she’d be limited in what she could do, but luckily, another Fairy Godmother joined the pack. Kacie Stanford, with the help of her partner, Edward “The Rooster” Ketch, took over daily operations to keep the organization running. “I’ve always followed the Facebook page and admired what [Hunter] did, but I didn’t get involved until [her surgery]. I knew that if I didn’t jump in to help, these kids wouldn’t get to go to prom,” Stanford said.
Mary Martinez, one of the original princesses from 2012, is a testament to the profound effect this organization has on young girls. “I grew up in poverty in a house with six siblings, worked two jobs to help pay the bills and missed out on so many other senior events in high school,” she recalled. “Without this organization, I would not have been able to go to prom.” Now, the “Princess turned Fairy Godmother” donates her time to help other students get their magical night at prom.
As wonderful as this organization has been for the community, it’s currently struggling with storage space. After losing its space at Rockport-Fulton High School, the non-profit began operating out of climate-controlled storage units, but is still on the hunt for a new home. The Godmothers are hoping to find an affordable boutique-style location to enhance the experience for these kids.
Hunter and Stanford have many great ideas brewing for the future of the non-profit, and are spreading their fairy dust throughout the Coastal Bend to help local students create magical memories.