Staff Report

The Vandenberg Spouses’ Club launched the Cinderella’s Closet program in 2017 to collect formal attire and accessories that could be borrowed and worn to local military events. On Jan. 22, they took a significant step forward with the grand opening of their permanent facility on Vandenberg Air Force Base.

In November, the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation’s 21st annual military ball served as the perfect venue for members of the club to spread awareness about their new charitable initiative, which they accomplished by wearing evening gowns that had been donated to the program.

Less than six months after kicking off the Cinderella’s Closet program, the club has collected nearly 250 dresses, about 50 pairs of shoes and a variety of purses, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and other accessories that can be worn to a variety of military events. They even have in their collection a handful of wedding dresses that can borrowed for the big day.

Bonnie Martin and Heather Dunar, both board members of the Vandenberg Spouses’ Club, spearhead the Cinderella’s Closet initiative and are thrilled with the recent momentum of the program.

“This has been such a rewarding experience to be involved with on many levels,” said Chairwoman Bonnie Martin. “It has been incredibly inspiring to see the generosity of people from all walks of life eager to donate and make a difference in the lives of our local military families. Our ability to provide access to so many beautiful gowns certainly helps accomplish our goal of making it easier for military families to attend functions, and we can’t wait to continue building upon this recent success.”

In addition to the annual Military Ball, there are a number of other local events throughout the year that warrant formal attire, including the annual Vandenberg Awards Ceremony on Feb. 16, the Vandenberg Airman Leadership School graduation, the Air Force Ball, holiday parties, and other squadron events.

The new Cinderella’s Closet facility is in the VAFB Religious Education Center across from the chapel. It provides those with base access a place to peruse and try on clothing and accessories.

Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation provided the funding for painting and flooring in the new facility.

Cinderella’s Closet provides gowns from sizes zero to 26 and shoes, jewelry, and purses for free. Those with base access can borrow a dress at no cost, provided they have it dry-cleaned before returning it.

Donations of dresses or accessories can be dropped off at the new facility. In Santa Barbara, donations can be dropped off at the Veterans Memorial Building at 112 W. Cabrillo Boulevard between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m..

Donors can also schedule an appointment by calling 805-568-0020 or get more information by emailing