Prom dress giveaway open to local teens

Journal photo by Erin Passinger Marion Deeter, a member of the Union City First Baptist Church, holds up a pink prom gown. The dress is one of several the church plans to hand out during its annual prom dress giveaway on March 27.

UNION CITY — High school girls who would like to attend their prom, but are concerned about the cost of a formal gown are invited to take advantage of a local program.

Union City Baptist Church is sponsoring a prom dress giveaway, which aims to provide dresses, shoes and accessories to any teen free of charge.

“We don’t need any information from anyone,” said program co-coordinator Sandy Eshelman, who also sits on the church’s board of deacons. “It’s just something we want to do for girls who may not be able to afford it.”

During the rest of March, the church is seeking prom dress and accessory donations that will be used for the giveaway, which is scheduled for March 27.

Gently used items will be accepted on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. at the church’s Clothes Closet, 16 South St.

The Clothes Closet is a church-run program that provides free clothing to needy residents year-round.

During the distribution day, girls from anywhere in the community — including the Corry area — are invited to the church from noon to 3 p.m. to pick out a dress.

The gowns will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, and there will be an area for the teens to try on their dresses.

“If it fits, they can have it,” Eshelman said. “They are also welcome to whatever accessories that we have.”

Last year, the church received about 50 dress donations and provided gowns to 20 prom goers. The church is hoping to give away at least that many this year.

“I hope we have more girls come out this year,” said Marion Deeter, who is credited with starting the prom dress giveaway. “These kinds of dresses can be anywhere between $400 and $600 in a store.”

Deeter, who has been a member of the Baptist church for about 12 years, often interacts with the church’s youth.

“I listen to a lot of the girls talk about how they want to go to prom, but they don’t have money for a dress,” Deeter said. “So, I prayed about it and decided we need to help these girls.”

The only requirement is that participants be at least 13 years old and intend to use their dress for the prom.

“We just want to make sure the dresses will be used for the dance,” Eshelman said.

Anyone with questions about the program or donating may call 438-3281 or 438-2231.

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