The countdown to high school prom is officially under way and hundreds of local teens hit the malls this week to get ready for the big day. But not everyone can afford a brand new dress.
The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports many high schoolers consider going to prom a rite of passage. But the price tag for a new dress is beyond the budget for many families.
A local church is trying to make sure everyone can go to the dance in style.
"Right now, we're in the peak of the season, so we're really busy," said Michael Jamaleddine, owner Alyssa's Bridal.
Busy to the tune of 300 prom dresses sold this month alone.
Jamaleddine says with most proms less than three weeks away, shopping season is in high gear. And those dresses can get very expensive.
"It's very expensive. Dresses are like $400, $300. Alterations cost more, like, $100 more. And then the hair and the make-up and the shoes, it gets very expensive," said Rachel Mills, Union H.S. senior.
And some people just can't afford it and they might have to miss out on that special day.
"I've talked to several girls that have friends who wouldn't be able to go to prom if they couldn't find the funds to find a dress," said Debbie Gant, Youth Director, St. Matthews Church.
Gant works with dozens of teen volunteers at St. Matthews Church. She says she many girls are on very tight budgets. So she's organized a dress exchange of sorts, called Prom Connections.
"Girls that can't afford to get a gown for prom can come and get a gown for free," said Gant.
She's received about 30 donated dresses so far. But she says demand has already outgrown supply. She needs more dresses and she's asking for your help
"Every girl wants to go to the prom and feel like she looks her best. And it's the dress, and the hair, and the nails, and the shoes, and you just want to feel as good about yourself as you can," said Gant.
The News On 6 spoke to a lot of teens and they all said they know somebody who could benefit from this kind of event.
Gant says the church be accepting dresses of all sizes through next week.
If you would like to donate new and gently used dresses, stop by St. Matthews United Methodist Church at 12424 E. 31st St. You can contact them by calling 918-622-8703.
The last day to donate is Sunday, March 30th.
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