Charity Struggles to Collect Prom Dresses for Local Teens
Silk, taffeta and tulle gowns have the power to uplift teenage girls like Nigeria Glenn. She recalls attending her first Queens of Far Rockaway dress event in 2013 where she found a white ball gown for her middle-school formal.
“I want to feel that feeling again because that was probably the happiest moment I felt,” said Glenn.
Angela Hines of Far Rockaway wants every girl in her community to have the same opportunity. The full time attorney and mother of five runs the dress charity out of her Far Rockaway home to help local teens prepare for the prom and formal events. She relies on the generosity of others.
“If you could succeed and make it to prom then I believe every girl should be able to go,” said Hines.
“I had a lot of dresses and they were kind of sitting in my closet, not doing anything useful,” said Arielle Ortiz, a volunteer who has donated ten dresses since 2013. “So when this opportunity came, I immediately just wanted to give them up.”
Hines launched the program in 2013 to help families recovering from Hurricane Sandy. That year she was able to give away 500 dresses to teens like Glenn.
“In part because of Hurricane Sandy and [being a] senior too, it was a big expense to even get a dress at the time,” said Glenn.
But Glenn and other high school seniors in need might have a harder time finding their dream dress this year. Hines says she’s struggling to find donations. While retailers like Kleinfeld and Revlon do pitch in — last year, she collected only 100 gowns.
“After Hurricane Sandy, you know, the interest kind of died down but the need is still important,” said Hines. “We didn’t receive any shoes this year so we are really in need.”
So far this year she only has received 150 dresses. She’s seeking sponsors from across the city.
Next month, Hines will send these gowns to Goldie Maple Academy in Arverne where she and roughly two dozen volunteers will distribute dresses, shoes, accessories — and even mini makeovers — to girls gearing up for prom season.
“We make them feel special, we never make the girls feel like they’re in need,” said Hines.
“Everyone is oohing and ahhing, they’re just so elated and just so thankful,” said Ortiz.
And they are thankful to Hines, for making their dream dress come true. If you’d like to donate a gown visit project-window.org