Annual prom dress drive allows teens to enjoy their big night

Andrew Valderas
A Howard Payne University student from last year scans through the inventory of prom dresses at the annual Prom Dress Drive put on by the school's social club. | Bulletin file photo.

Most teenage girls this time of year will be busy combing through department stores and boutiques and scroll online websites in order to find that perfect prom dress as they prepare for arguably the best time of their high school careers.

But because of towering prices that exceed hundreds of dollars for most dresses like formal ones and ball gowns, many families are incapable of purchasing or even renting the elegant attire.

The Social Work Club at Howard Payne University will be issuing out free prom dresses to local high school girls during its 10th annual Prom Dress Drive on Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon in an effort to allow the teens to attend and enjoy their special night.

Donated mostly from the university’s sorority members, along with different people in the area, anywhere from 100 to 200 dresses will transform an area at the on-campus Girling Center look more “like a boutique,” said Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work and a social work club adviser.

Damron said she encourages the sorority members to “clean out their closets” in order to help supply dresses for the drive that started for just girls within Brown County to most recently extending out to towns like Coleman, San Saba and Richland Springs.

Damron said a student from years back donated 20 dresses.

“Some really pretty, up-to-date dresses,” said Damron, who noted that dresses in not the best of condition are either retained by the owner or donated to the school’s theatre department for plays.

The annual Prom Dress Drive is one of the “service projects” that the 15-20 students enrolled in the Social Work program must complete and help put on through put the school year, Damron said.

Other projects have included rendering service at the Salvation Army, serve at the annual Empty Bowls Project as well as the Brenda Newbury Breast Cancer Awareness Walk-a-Thon every October.