Wednesday, March 6, 2013
From the fancy dinner to the crammed dance floor to the butterflies in your stomach, prom is always a night to remember. And the most memorable part, for the girls anyway, is undoubtedly the dress.
With hard economic times having hit the nation — and Chattanooga being no exception — two organizations are committed to helping local high school girls look fabulous for their big night, regardless of their financial situation. Dallas Bay Baptist Church is giving away free prom dresses Saturday, March 9, and Rescue Prom, a local chapter of nonprofit Becca’s Closet, is hosting its annual prom dress giveaway Saturday, March 23.
“We didn’t want any girl that wanted to go to the prom not to be able to go because it’s such a special event,” said Mary K. Sledge of DBBC.
“It’s a night that they always remember. Those are times you never forget,” added Sallie McDonald, who is also volunteering for the DBBC event.
The first event of its kind hosted by the church’s members, Sledge said DBBC has collected around 80 lightly used prom dresses, though some are brand new, in a variety of sizes to give to local girls who come to the main church campus March 9 — first come, first served. The girls should arrive at 9:30 a.m. They will be given a number and, when it is their turn, called in to be personally helped by a volunteer until they find their perfect dress.
The church also has a limited number of shoes and accessories to give away, as well as gift bags full of makeup samples for at least the first 35 girls.
“We are a church that’s big on meeting needs. We are always seeking ways to serve people,” said Sledge.
She added that if a girl doesn’t find her perfect fit at DBBC that day, she will be directed to the Rescue Prom event.
After the April 2011 tornadoes tore through the community, Kim Goins and Crystal Cadieux began Rescue Prom to help the girls that lost so much in the storms. The event exploded into something much bigger, and within hours of creating a Facebook page to request dresses, the project was already on a local news station. Then, thousands of donations and calls began pouring in.
“It was an overwhelming blessing,” laughed Cadieux, who said the event is now in its third year. “It allows us to give back to the community, to give the children the ability to take advantage of prom and experience it.”
Though Rescue Prom was originally to only last that first year, nonprofit Becca’s Closet, which also provides formal attire to high school students, reached out to Goins and Cadieux to become a chapter of the organization in Chattanooga. Thus, the event became an annual staple in the lives of teenage girls with dreams of attending prom in the perfect dress.
Those wanting to attend Rescue Prom can register online or at the door on the day of the event at Hixson Community Center. Cadieux said volunteers will be on the floor and in the dressing room to help the girls sort through the thousands of dresses — last year the count was 3,400 — and the limited supply of shoes and accessories.
“It’s a precious event to be a part of and witness,” said Cadieux. “The dresses seem meant to be. It’s so amazing; we know we get to be a part of that excitement.”
Rescue Prom also has options for guys. Though there are no tuxedos on-site, guys can register online or at the event for a free tux rental.