It’s prom season, and no one’s giving any thought to the fact that all of the guys who show up are wearing used clothes. Renting a tuxedo is part of the experience for high school boys; the girls, however, generally go shopping and lay out several hundred dollars for a dress they’ll wear once. True, they probably won’t end up in landfills, but this still strikes me as an inefficient use of resources… especially when there are plenty of young ladies out there that would love to get their hands on a used dress for cheap or free. Remember Pretty in Pink?
I got thinking about this topic after reading about Becky Hayden, a high school math teacher in Thousand Oaks, California, who runs her own “lending library” for prom dresses. In her nine years of offering this service, Hayden’s collected around 300 dresses, but always has need for more. And even though she allows students from schools other than her own Moorpark High School to borrow dresses, she’s still running a pretty localized effort.
So, I got to digging around for places to which readers could donate prom dresses in their own communities, and found there are a number of organizations that have spread out to multiple locations. Here’s what I found for donating a dress, or picking one up for free (or close to it) – if you know of other organizations offering such a service, let us know about them in the comments.
Donate Prom Dresses (or Pick One Up for Use) at One of these Organizations
Fairy Godmothers, Inc.
With six locations around the US (mostly in the East), Fairy Godmothers, Inc., exists to “help provide a special high school prom experience for qualified high school girls whose financial situations are such as otherwise would preclude their ability to attend…” In addition to dresses, the organization also provides shoes and accessories.
Before she died in a car accident at the age of 16, Rebecca Kirtman had started a “dress drive” to collect dresses and accessories for fellow students who couldn’t otherwise afford them. Becca’s efforts live on in the organization that bears her name: their are chapters all over the country. Each chapter handles its own donations and distribution.
This multi-state organization not only collects dresses and accessories for girls wanting to attend prom, but also helps out guys in financial need with the cost of tuxedo rental (which can be pricey, too). Take a look at some of the kids they’ve helped:
A project of international non-profit WGIRLS, Project G.L.A.M. provides prom dresses as a part of its broader mission to “provide underprivileged women and children with the support and resources necessary to achieve health, happiness, and the ability to lead productive and successful adult lives.”
Started as a project of Immanuel United Methodist Church in Lakeside Park, KY, and now run through churches in a number of states, Cinderella’s Closet focuses on providing more than a dress: “From the moment our princesses dance through our doors they are greeted with an environment of grace, love and respect. It is our mission that they leave knowing they are cherished.”
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