Happy school children with new clothes.

Vacaville Charity Spotlight: The Little Dress Project

The Little Dress Project provides a week’s worth of new school clothing to young scholars in need. Formed in 2018, the Vacaville-based charity has provided clothing to over 500 children in the Solano County area. The children always receive a batch of brand new clothing (with tags and no mention of price), never hand-me-downs or used outfits.

Happy children in new clothes.

Founder and CEO of The Little Dress Project, Barbara Stocking, took to the cause after learning of a group of women in another area who sewed new dresses for school children in need.

Stocking said, “The need is there. I work with school principals and counselors weekly to coordinate orders and deliveries. The families never pay a dime for the clothes they receive.” The Little Dress Project has purchased over $60,000 of youth clothing since its inception.

In 2020, Stocking expanded the project’s scope by providing clothing to children displaced by the devastating LNU fire which destroyed nearly 1,500 homes in the Vacaville area.

Donors can contribute clothing, but the most helpful donations are cash, which allow Stocking to purchase clothing for sizes which are in the most demand. The Little Dress Project is a certified 501(c)3 and donations are tax-deductible. It’s a low-overhead operation and mostly operates out of Stocking’s garage.

“I load up on sales at local clothing stores to really make every penny count. I can take a $75 donation and turn it into a week’s worth of clothes if I do it right,” says Stocking.

The charity’s donors range from individuals who donate a few outfits to corporate sponsors who have made 5-figure contributions.

That’s a lot of clothing! Which leads to Stocking’s biggest need… Storage!

Stocking loads up on children’s’ clothing when they’re on sale. She takes advantage of off-season sales and spots deals on a wide array of sizes and seasonal styles. This makes donated dollars go farther. When a family needs clothes, The Little Dress Project delivers fast because it has the inventory available, but that inventory takes up space.

When asked what she really needs to take her services to the next level, Stocking’s response was quick. “I need a benevolent sponsor to pay for a climate-controlled storage unit for the clothing inventory.”

You can donate directly to The Little Dress Project using Venmo or by calling 707-249-8206 or e-mailing TheLittleDressProject@gmail.com.

In an article published by The Dixon Tribune in October of 2021, Dixon Unified School District’s Coordinator of Community Outreach, Shawntel McCammon, said:

“The Little Dress Program is super important because it is another valuable way we can connect with families so they can recognize we are supporting them and we know that they have that need.”

Dixon is one of many school districts The Little Dress Project has worked with. Among others, the charity has also worked directly with Edwin Markham Elementary School in Vacaville, Dover Academy and Sheldon Academy in Fairfield, and Waggoner Elementary in Winters.

Please consider supporting such a worthwhile and local cause!