That’s when an idea she had bandied about began to take shape. Garrett, who was raised by a single mother, had grown to understand the financial difficulties her mother had faced.
“It was like, oh, that’s why I have these homemade clothes,” she said.
Now, with four of Joe Garrett’s daughters in the family, she realized the cost of homecomings, proms and dances. Her idea: Why not busy her now-idle hands by accepting donated prom dresses to give girls the chance to attend prom all dolled up and give their parents a financial break.
“Every girl deserves to feel like a princess for one night,” she said. “And every parents deserves to take a breath and not worry about the cost of things every once in a while.
“You’re paying hundreds of dollars for a dress that’s worn once and then sits in a closet forever. It can get costly and expensive.”
The idea needed a name. Garrett said one of her friends was listening to a group of teenagers talk about whom they were going to date and whom they were going with to prom, when the name hit her.
“She said to me, ‘In 15 years, you’ll be wondering who Jake would have taken to prom,’” Garrett said.
The name — Dresses for Jake’s Dates — stuck, and the idea erupted. Garrett received 67 dresses from one shop in Bartlesville. Now, 170 dresses fill an entire room at her house.
“It’s just saved me in a way,” she said. “It’s allowed me to channel the things I’m going through positively, to pay it forward to people who need help.”
Her first “customer” pulled up to her house and stepped out of the back seat of a pickup. With her was a small girl.
“I thought, OK, this must be her little sister,” Garrett said.
The girl turned out to be the student’s daughter.
“It made me realize, here is a girl who is in school, has a daughter, is involved in athletics. She’s perfect for us,” Garrett said. “She must have an incredible support system, and she must be very strong. We were so nervous as she was looking through the dresses.”
The “Dresses for Jake’s Dates” Facebook page has almost 600 fans. Garrett said she put out word that for every 100 “likes” on the page, that fan could suggest a task for her to do. For instance: For the 300th “like,” the fan requested that Garrett do a good deed. She took chips and dips to a local hospital.