03/10/08 — Groups offering prom dresses for those who can't afford one

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Groups offering prom dresses for those who can't afford one

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 10, 2008 1:47 PM

Not being able to afford a dress should not keep a Wayne County high school junior or senior from attending prom, two local groups of volunteers have decided.

When the Garris Chapel United Methodist Church put out a call for dresses, more than 300 appeared.

Now, all they need are a few prom-goers who need some help finding a dress for their big day.

The church sent out letters to the Department of Social Services and area churches and schools asking for recommendations of those who would benefit from a free prom dress. Each church or school will choose somebody to receive a dress and contact the church at 1-252-566-4355 to arrange a private fitting after hours at the Bridal Gallery on Cashwell Drive.

Store owner Dana Southerland, a member at Garris Chapel, said her pastor solicited new and used gowns from several shops across North Carolina. They expected to receive a few gowns, but 300 new gowns arrived.

"We're overwhelmed with the number of donations," she said. "We got so many new gowns, we didn't even bother with slightly used ones."

The shop is also providing free alterations and free shoes that also have been donated.

Mrs. Southerland sells Mary Kay Cosmetics, too, and is including a cosmetics goodie bag for each teen who takes home one of the dresses.

She said church members have also given monetary donations to help make sure every teen who wants to will be able to attend the junior-senior prom this year.

And Garris Chapel is not the only organization hoping to help students with prom.

Rosewood High School's DECA Club also is sponsoring a prom dress project.

The school will be open for fittings March 15 through April 12 from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

Those who can participate include any Wayne County Public High School female student in need of a dress for a prom held at any county high school. Participants must present their school identification card and must be willing to re-donate the dress to help other students' dreams of going to the prom come true.

Donations of used prom dresses and shoes are welcome.

For information, contact Lindsay Barwick at 705-6050 or via e-mail at lindsaybarwick@wcps.org.