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Marissa’s Closet dinner, dance & auction Friday

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POSTED April 29, 2010 2:44 a.m.
It’s a celebration of love for others – a fund raiser – and a dinner dance and auction Friday night at the Ripon Community Center’s two halls.

Melinda Shaw has carried forward the passion of her late daughter Marissa to ensure that every teenage girl is guaranteed a first rate evening gown to wear to her high school prom – having given out over 1,000 dresses already this spring.

Marissa had hoped to have 700 dresses for this year’s prom season. Her mother exceeded that number and it’s growing.  For every prom gown that has gone out, one to two have come in as donations.

The doors of both sides of the community center will open at 6 p.m. with dinner set for 7 catered by Applebee’s Restaurant of Modesto.  The dinner layout is being set up in one hall with the KHOP Radio DJ, D. Ferreira, on the other along with live and silent auctions and a 50/50 raffle.  Dancing is to begin at 8:30.

Shaw said the evening’s music selections are from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but there will also be a few from Frank Sinatra’s best tunes that may lend to some ballroom dancing styles.  The dinner was organized in less than 90 days complete with the donations of auction items and door prizes.

The Friday fund raiser is hoping to bring in funds for scholarships, prom tickets and all the other outreaches Marissa’s Closet have been serving.  Shaw said she is very excited about the dinner dance because she feels many will learn what her non-profit 501 (c3) organization is doing for the teens in the community and beyond.

Girls from all over the Central Valley and Bay Area communities have been drawn to Ripon over the past two months when they heard the prom dresses – many with the price tags attached – were available just for the asking at the former Ripon Drug Store building.  Shaw and her family members and friends manned the store each Saturday and Sunday.  Shaw personally met girls from out of the area by appointment during the week.

In addition to the gowns, Marissa’s Closet was aided in giving out a number of tuxedos from Je’taime Formal Wear in Modesto and Formal Connection Formal Wear in Manteca.  The closet contains 1,700 dresses now, and received another 200 from a Delta College shipment on Wednesday of this week.
The movement has also shipped over 600 dresses out internationally through the Ripon-based Assist International.  

Shaw is planning to speak to the dinner crowd, and personally bring them up to date on Marissa’s Closet’s current status, its plans to evolve into the future, and its search for a permanent location.  Retired pharmacist Dale Larson has allowed the closet to make use of his former Ripon Drug Store location rent free on a temporary basis.

“We have a very special cake that is being made in three tiers.  It is going to have Marissa’s design in the center with dresses all around it,” she said.  “The table centerpieces are being hand made with 11-inch mannequins wearing different custom dresses on each one,” she added.  As of Wednesday more than 250 guests had purchased their tickets for the evening.

Auction items include an autographed football by Oakland Raiders team members that was presented by head coach Tom Cable.  There are Oakland A’s game tickets and a house at Lake Tahoe with a four-day stay to be given away.  

There is also a special birthday party package to be given away that will host 15 children at the Ripon Fire House that includes a ride on a fire engine.  Quilts are also going to be given away representing the various high school football teams with a team picture on each and the autographs of the players.  Passes to tour the five Moaning Caverns in Tuolumne County are also among the prizes.

Tickets are $20 each and may be obtained at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce on Main Street or at Salon Cre’belle located in the 100 block of West Main Street.  Those seeking more information may call Melinda Shaw at 613-0836 or go online at www.marissascloset.org.  Melinda Shaw is providing an informational program about Marissa’s Closet today, Thursday, at the noon meeting of the Manteca Rotary Club at Isadore’s Restaurant on North Main Street in Manteca.
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