There will be no price tags on the gowns at the Prom Shoppe in Apex on Friday night.
Every dress – and there are more than 700 at last count – is free. So, too, are the shoes, the handbags, the jewelry and the cosmetics.
Starting Friday afternoon at 2:30 and continuing into the evening, the Christian Life Center at Apex United Methodist Church will open its doors as the Prom Shoppe, a one-stop shopping boutique for girls and their moms who otherwise couldn’t afford what has become one of the most expensive of high school rituals.
To get the word out, volunteers have contacted school counselors across the Triangle and after-school programs that serve teen girls. No one is turned away.
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“It’s intended for girls who are monetarily in need,” said Stacy Kivett, 37, of Apex, an event organizer. “With that said, we don’t request or require any proof of need.”
The dresses, shoes and accessories for the Prom Shoppe come by the armful, all donated by church members and members of the community who have heard of the event, which is in its sixth year.
The volunteers see to it that each gown and every pair of shoes is clean and current in style. Kivett and her volunteers also solicit donations of new items – such as make-up – from local businesses.
This year, 14 dressing rooms are planned to shorten the wait among the expected throngs of girls and their moms. The dresses will be organized by color and size to make the shopping easier. The shoes, accessories and make-up will have their own displays. Giveaways are also planned.
“We try to make it as fun and boutique-y as we can,” Kivett said. Music will be piped in, she said, and the room will be decorated in hot pink and black.
The Prom Shoppe is a labor of love for Kivett and her volunteer team.
“It’s a lot of work,” Kivett said, but when they see “a daughter beaming and a mom crying, it’s all worth it.”
If past years are any indication, anywhere from 200 to 500 girls will leave Friday night with dresses and all the accessories for prom night. Not a penny will have changed hands.
If you’d like to help, it’s not too late. “We are taking donations up to the day of the event,” Kivett said.
Contact Kivett at Stacy.Kivett@gmail.com. If you know a girl in need, Prom Shoppe hours are 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 28, at Apex United Methodist Church, 100 S. Hughes St., Apex.