Groups offering free prom dresses for needy

March 22, 2011 3:15:50 PM PDT
When it comes to prom, the dress is usually the single most important aspect of the night for a young lady.

On Monday, we showed you where you can find a great deal. But today, for those who can't afford a dress, there are some options.

Non-profit groups say no girl should ever feel left out from the prom because she can't afford an evening dress. That's why a couple of groups have set up prom dress giveaways to give every girl a chance to look her best on prom night.

With prom, homecoming dances and several Quinceanera's, Lucha Rodriguez-Gonzalez has more than 10 evening dresses. That's why she says the dress has to impress.

"You want to look nice and you want the perfect color and you want it to fit you just right and it makes your whole night," she said.

But instead of collecting dust in her closet, she's donating all her dresses at JC Penney for the Wear It, Rock It, Give It event.

"The dresses will go to girls who otherwise couldn't afford to go to prom, and with that comes a whole host of opportunities for them," said Ann Herlocher with the YMCA of Greater Houston.

The YMCA of Greater Houston and JC Penney have partnered for the event. Girls who wish to donate their gently used prom dress can bring it to any JC Penney and drop it in the bin.

"We collect the dresses here at the store and then we will give them to the local YMCA on April 2," said Nelson Whittington with JC Penney.

"And the dresses will go to girls who are involved in our team programs at the selective YMCA that they partner with for the JC Penney's roundup," Herlocher said.

At the Lone Star College in Cy-Fair, it's the Seventh Annual Prom Dress Giveaway.

"And this is just a closet where we hold about 800 beautiful prom dresses and they are for girls who are on a budget or can't afford a new dress," Elise Sheppard with Lone Star College said.

Sheppard, the college librarian, is in charge of the Prom Dress Giveaway; the dresses she receives are donations and in many cases are brand new or have been worn only once. Some are long, classic, beaded and some are even designer gowns.

"We have sizes 0-26," Sheppard said.

The prom closet is open to any girl from any part of the greater Houston area.

"The girls don't have to qualify. All they have to do is show up," she said.

Sheppard says the hope is to get young ladies to think about college by dropping in to pick out their dress.

"And they too can come to college and get a college degree and have a better future and a better job," she said.

But ultimately, the goal is to give every young woman a chance to feel special on a big day.

"When they look in the mirror, they see a new them and it gives them a lot of confidence and makes them feel beautiful," Sheppard said.

The Lone Star College in Cy-Fair will be giving away dresses for the next several Saturdays through April at the Lone Star College at Cy Fair Branch Library in Library Room 131. The college is located on 9191 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress, TX.

Dates and hours for the dress giveaway:

March 26: 1 to 3pm
April 2: 1-3pm
April 9: 1-3pm
April 16: 1-3pm
April 23: Library Closed
April30: 1-3pm

If you are interested in the JC Penney and YMCA partnership dress giveaway, contact your local chapter. Check your local JC Penney to donate and learn more, or call 713-758-9100 to obtain a prom dress.