Volunteer Spirit: UT student A-Dressing needs in Haiti

WEST KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Our Volunteer Spirit of the week goes to a UT student who has a big heart for Haiti and her own community.

Katie Riley has a desire to a - "dress" the needy overseas.

She first visited Haiti in 2007 and she's been back twice since.

Katie says, "The experience completely changed my life. You go from a place like Knoxville where we have everything we could need and more to a place
where shoes is a luxury and running water is a luxury and electricity is unheard of."

The junior at UT started a non profit group on campus in 2009 called Give Haiti Hope.
It falls under the Haiti Outreach Program.

Jennifer Neil with the Haiti Outreach Program talks about the desperation in Haiti, "The children in Haiti, if their mom does not have a job there is no church to pick up groceries, there is no food stamps. They do not have the infrastructure we have here. They are only 90 miles from our shore."

And to help people of Haiti, Katie started an annual event called "Fierce and Fancy Formals."

She says, "Everything is under a 150 dollars for basically new dresses."

They recently collected hundreds of slightly used, fancy dresses, and Prestige Cleaners laundered them.

Prices start at only $20 dollars a dress. There are cocktail dresses, bridesmaids' gowns, prom dresses and everything in between.

In Katie's eyes, it's helping Haiti and her community.

Katie says, "People in Knoxville have been able to clean out there closets for dresses they will probably never wear again. All of the money will help Haiti which is an amazing cause in itself."

And not only that, Katie says prom season was on her mind as she planned the dress sale, "We're doing a service for girls in Knoxville who might not be able to afford a dress. Prom can be expensive and it is something we don't want anyone to miss out on because they can't afford it."

For these reasons Katie Riley, we congratulate you for having Volunteer Spirit!

"Fierce and Fancy Formals" is Tonight, Friday February 25th, 2011 at 7pm at The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Downtown Knoxville.

Tickets are $15 at the door.

A silent auction and fashion show will be held and the cream of the crop dresses will be for sale.

An encore dress sale will be held on Saturday,February 26, 2011 at the former "If It's Paper" Building at 5409 Kingston Pike, from 10 am-4 pm.

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