Prom Dress Giveaway

MINERAL WELLS – In an effort to help girls achieve the look they want for their schools’ formal spring dance without costing an arm and leg, two young women organized a prom dress giveaway Saturday.

“When I was home for Christmas, I heard a group of girls talking about their prom dresses and how much they had spent and I thought this would be a way to help the girls who can’t afford all of the prom stuff they want,” said event coordinator Caroline Arthur.

Arthur, whose father Brian Arthur is pastor of Mineral Wells Baptist Church, said she and friend Rebecca Rhodes, also of Mineral Wells, asked friends and family to donate items in order to hold the free event Saturday.

“Prom is just one night and girls are spending hundreds of dollars on dresses, shoes and jewelry, which is ridiculous,” said Rhodes. “We want to help those who can’t afford it to feel as beautiful as they want.”

In the six hours of the event Saturday at the church, located at 1569 Elizabeth Pike, Arthur and Rhodes helped more than a dozen high school girls from around the area find a dress, shoes and jewelry as well as gift certificates for hair and nail services.

“Prom is a status symbol and no one should be made to feel badly because they cannot afford what others have,” Arthur, a student at Brea College in Kentucky, said. “If we help one girl feel better about herself and have a good time at her prom, it was all worth it.”

All of the items – roughly 30 dresses, formal shoes and accessories – handed out on Saturday were brand new and donated to the cause by friends and family of Arthur and Rhodes. Arthur said she does not know what to do with the dresses left, as she does plan to do a similar prom dress giveaway next year.

“We hope to make this an annual event and ask businesses for donations next year to, hopefully, make it bigger and better to help more girls,” Arthur added.

One lesson Arthur and Rhodes learned through this first year’s event was to be prepared for all shapes and sizes of girls looking for formal dresses.

“Unfortunately, several girls came in and couldn’t find anything because we didn’t have any dresses in their size, so next year, we have learned we need to have some plus-size dresses, which we didn’t think of when planning,” Arthur said.

For Rhodes, the work was worth it after seeing the faces of two girls who found their prom attire Saturday morning.

“They were so excited and happy,” said Rhodes. “We could see how truly appreciative they were and that made me very happy to know those girls will have a great prom night and that we were able to help.”

In another event, Noah’s Arc Thrift Shop, located at 1915 Dudley Ave., Parkersburg, will have a formal dress sale from 2-5 p.m. today with all formal dresses – prom, wedding and other occasions – on sale for $25 each. All proceeds from the sale will go to The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley, which is a non-profit agency that serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.