Foothill Student's Prom Dress Charity

Foothill junior Mackenzie Huff hopes to make dreams come true for teen girls while keeping alive the dreams of a childhood friend.


Mackenzie, 17, has started a local chapter of Marissa’s Closet, a Ripon-based charity that collects and distributes prom and formal wear for girls who otherwise could not afford such niceties.


The formal wear charity was started by Mackenzie’s longtime friend, Marissa McLeod, who tragically committed suicide on Dec. 1. Marissa, 17, a family friend of Mackenzie, was a high-achieving senior at Ripon High School.


Marissa started the formal wear charity at the start of this school year. After her untimely death, Mackenzie and Marissa’s relatives decided to keep the charity going and rename it in Marissa’s memory.


“Marissa was such a beautiful young lady,” Mackenzie said. “It’s in honor of her. I just wanted to keep it going.”


The charity collects all types of formal dresses, ranging from prom wear to dresses appropriate for a wedding or other formal event. Donations of accessories – shoes, handbags, jewelry – are welcome, as are donations of hangers and clothes racks to help store and distribute items.


Marissa cared about everybody else,” Mackenzie said. “She realized that there are so many girls who don’t have money, but they’re afraid to say they can’t afford a dress. She wanted to help those girls. She was a very giving girl.


Marissa, a leadership student, worked with her classmates collect donated items in Ripon. Mackenzie will expand those efforts to Foothill and the entire Tri-Valley area. Ultimately, a location midway between Pleasanton and Ripon will be chosen for donations to be handed out to girls in need.


Marissa’s ideal project was to help women and young girls who couldn’t afford nice dresses,” Mackenzie explained.


Donations may be dropped at Foothill in teacher Barbara Correia’s classroom (A-2) or in the front office. Items should be clearly labeled with both “Marissa’s Closet” and “Mackenzie Huff.”


Mackenzie hopes to keep Marissa’s Closet active all year round, eventually passing off the project to another willing student when she graduates from Foothill.


Please contact Mackenzie at for more information, to make donations or to volunteer with Marissa’s Closet.


PHOTO: Mackenzie Huff

Story by Zoe Francis

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010