A new program from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, is allowing Mercer County teens in need to say yes to the dress... and the tux.
CCDOT’s “Free Prom Attire” initiative, created in conjunction with the Hamilton Area YMCA’s “Togetherhood” program, enables eligible teen girls and boys in Mercer County the chance to select gently used formal dresses, suits or tuxedos that were donated by other area teens, explained Richard Ferreira, program director for CCDOT Community Services Mercer.
“We were approached by the Y.M.C.A. in mid-March to help, and I signed on right away,” he said. CCDOT issued a flyer alerting area residents of the bounty, and a good portion of the formal wear was distributed by the end of March.
But the donations kept coming, Ferreira marveled.
“People are still donating. We have about 90 prom dresses,” he noted. In addition to the dresses, suits and tuxedos, the agency has shirts, vests and ties to complete the outfits, Ferreira said, and noted “some people even donate the shoes and jewelry to go with the dresses.”
The program will accept donations through the third week of April. Donors are requested to drop off clean, gently used items during normal business hours to Catholic Charities’ 132 North Warren Street location.
Potential recipients must call the agency at 609-394-8847 to set up an appointment (“We want to give these lovely young ladies and gentlemen the room to try on a dress or suit,” Ferreira said,) and families must meet financial and residential requirements to qualify.
Due to the success of the program, Ferreira is already looking ahead to next year, and perhaps partnering with local parishes or youth groups. “This is great,” he said happily. “This is almost like a reward for the students who are about to graduate high school.” [[In-content Ad]]