NEW JERSEY (WTXF) - Prom Season is supposed to be about good memories and celebration, but the costs for some have gotten so high that parents are struggling to pay for it. But, as he always does, Fox 29’s Bill Anderson found a group bringing light to the situation, giving away over a thousand free dresses for goodness sake.
“It’s not just the dress,” Rene Kaine explained. “The ticket’s a hundred dollars, the limo, the hair’s probably sixty dollars, the nails are thirty five dollars, the shoes, the tanning the makeup, it can be a fifteen hundred dollar evening.”
Rene Kaine recalls what kickstarted her passion project, Project Prom.
“Two years ago on Facebook I saw somebody posting that there was a girl who needed a dress in a certain size to go to prom, and if she couldn’t get a dress she couldn’t go to prom.”
That was all it took for Rene Kaine, Bonnie Steiner and others to mobilize. Kaine use to volunteer for an organization that helped girls get dresses, but the organization folded, and seeing the Facebook post reminded her that there was a need that she believed could and should be filled.
“Last year was our first year,” Kaine told Fox 29. “We collected 800 dresses last year and gave away 575, and this year we’ve probably collected about 1500 dresses.”
The cost and need for dresses came as a complete surprise to Fox 29’s Bill Anderson, but the response Project Prom received last year reinforced how many parents are struggling to pay for their kid’s special day.
“They cried and we cried,” Kaine said. “We cried for three days, we had one story after another and one mother after another saying they were laid off, their husband was out on disability, whatever their story was and they had no idea how they were gonna do this.”
The Project Prom giveaway takes place every day until Monday April 3. Friday and Saturday are reserved for people who got tickets through the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City website. On Sunday and Monday anyone can walk in. The event takes place at Kensington Furniture, which voluntarily set up its second floor like a dress boutique, in Northfield, New Jersey.
Michael Grossman, who owns Kensington Furniture, praised the event.
“This is going to help nearly a thousand young women in our community feel good about themselves at the prom, and if we can play a role in that, it’s the least we can do,” Grossman said.
Steiner showed Fox 29’s Bill Anderson around the Project Prom boutique, taking the time to demonstrate the attention they’ll pay to each shopper. The dresses are free, but they still want the girls to have the shopping experience.
Dresses, purses, shoes, jewelry, even some beauty supplies have all been donated and are all available to anyone who comes. And dozens of volunteers will be onsite. Last year showed Project Prom that for some, the dress may not be the only area they need some help with.
“Another thing you may not realize is there are girls who don’t have a mom to come with them,” Kaine explained. “We had girls who came by themselves, and we were their ‘mom’ for the moment.”
Thanks to the ladies behind Project Prom and tens of thousands of dollars of donated products, prom season will be a happier season for over thousands of families.