Say Yes to The (Free) Dress: Cinderella Shop open for Winter Ball


Hannah Westbrook

The Cinderella Shop offers an incredible amount of dresses and shoes to CHS students.

The Cinderella Shop, located at the Swartz Counseling Center at Carlisle High School, offers free dresses and accessories to any CHS student for Homecoming, Prom, and currently Winter Ball.

The Cinderella Shop first opened in 2014. Betsy Richwine, the Swartz Counseling Center and one of the creators of the shop, said, “During that first opening, the Cinderella Shop gave out fifty eight dresses in total, forty for Homecoming, eight for Winter Ball, and ten for Prom.”

The idea for starting a Cinderella Shop though didn’t just spawn out of the blue. Richwine’s daughter gave away a few of her hardly worn dresses to a program that was in place to Mechanicsburg High School.

Richwine added that “The people in charge of the program there were a tremendous help in leading to the fundamentals to start Carlisle’s own Cinderella Shop.”

Richwine’s daughter saw while donating dressings to Mechanicsburg High School that the program was equally simple and helpful to students who can’t afford or don’t find buying a new expensive dress for every school dance a necessity.

The program in Mechanicsburg, called Project Cinderella, inspired a fair amount that went into planning and exhibiting Carlisle’s own shop, even the name carried over in its own special way. The principals agreed with Richwine and a few others in on the idea that it would be beneficial for Carlisle High School to help students so that all could feel welcomed to attend the few dances that most students consider to be one of the most enjoyable parts of their High School experience.

The Cinderella Shop is open after school every day until 3:30 during the weeks leading up to a dance and every once and a while it does stay open later.

Richwine said, “Students can come down during any period as long as they have a teacher’s permission. I try not to schedule meetings while having the Cinderella Shop set up so students should be able to get a dress during school at any point in time. The only way that wouldn’t be the case is if there was a meeting occurring and there wasn’t any one available to help.”

Richwine added that she will keep the Cinderella Shop open up until Winter Ball and that new dresses are constantly being donated to add to the collection. Students that want to attend the upcoming Winter Ball that are worried about the expenses for new dresses are urged to go check it out. There is a wide selection and in the end, The Cinderella Shop is simply the shoe that fits.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) Do dresses have to be returned after a dance is over?

Answer: No they do not. If anyone feels that they will wear a dress again for another function and if they really fall in love with it then they don’t have to return it. During the Cinderella Shop’s existence only two dresses have ever been returned. If students feel that they will never wear the dress again though, then it would be appreciated if they would return it for someone else to use. But new dresses are always being donated, so keeping a good stock is generally not an issue.

2) Are the dresses donated cleaned?

Answer: All dresses are dry cleaned and usually are ironed and placed into a dress bag before being given to a student, so they are already ready to go.

3) Can dresses be donated still?