Three formal dresses changed everything for her. After a year spent praying and asking for guidance, Watson opened Angels Among Us, a service for girls in the community to receive free formal dresses for proms, balls and even weddings.
“When I was younger, I knew how expensive prom dresses were,” she said. “I’ve been in Paulding County 24 years. I knew the need was there.”
Watson started the operation in her home and soon it began to grow as she received donations from the community. Before long, her home could not contain the volume of dresses she had.
“I started praying because I knew we couldn’t do it on our own,” Watson said of an expansion.
“We just prayed and River of Life First United Methodist Church got ahold of our prayer request,” she said. “They contacted us and in July of 2006, six young ladies came out and built our first building for our dress shop.” The 12-foot by 14-foot building in the backyard of her home was fully complete on the outside, with just insulation on the inside, so Watson, her late husband Donnie and two children came up with the money to finish the interior.
“We hung the first dress in October of 2006 for homecoming that year,” she said. The building has been recently remodeled to a 14- by 40-foot building to accommodate the 300 dresses she receives each year.
“God’s been good,” she said of her effort to help the community.
Watson operates solely on donations of dresses from the community. The girls who select the dresses this year are not asked to pay for them.
“We’ve done fundraising where we could with yard sales and stuff like that, but most of the time we do it on a wing and a prayer,” she said.
However, this year, Watson has added a twist. She asks that girls who receive dresses from Angels Among Us bring canned goods that she will donate to Helping Hands of Paulding County, a food pantry.
“I felt like the girls really needed to know that it was very important to give back because we’ve never charged for our services, and I never plan to charge for them. It’s a nice thing for the girls to know that there are people out there other than themselves in need, and it was a good opportunity to say, ‘Hey, this one canned good makes a difference,’” Watson said.
Girls who are in need of a dress are asked to make an appointment through Watson by calling (770) 445-8994. All dresses come with a stamped card that can be taken to Dixie Cleaners in Dallas for a free dry cleaning.
She continues to broaden her service to the community through the recently added branch of her ministry, Angels for Success, which provides clothes for women in need of business suits for interviews or for work.
For both Angels Among Us and Angels of Success, clothes must be in decent condition, with no visible stains, tears or other damage. Watson also asks that the clothing be fairly contemporary.
For more information, call (770) 445-8994.