Southwest Wake News

The Prom Shoppe, a church ministry, offers free dresses for big night out

The Prome Shoppe, a ministry of Apex United Methodist Church, has more than 700 dresses of all sizes and styles to give away to local teens.
The Prome Shoppe, a ministry of Apex United Methodist Church, has more than 700 dresses of all sizes and styles to give away to local teens. CINDY SCHAEFER

Most girls dream of dressing up for their high school prom, but it’s not always cheap. For some, the dream is out of reach.

That’s where The Prom Shoppe comes in, easing the financial burden for local families.

A ministry of Apex United Methodist Church, The Prom Shoppe is a one-day event. On March 28, the shop will offer dresses, shoes, jewelry and makeup free of charge.

Volunteers have been busy sorting hundreds of donated dresses in all sizes and styles.

“We have lots of dresses with the tags still on them,” said Stacy Kivett, who leads the committee.

A dance studio donated a rack of short dresses, and a shoe-repair shop handed over 100 pairs of formal shoes.

“We try to make sure everything is stylish,” Kivett said.

The Prom Shoppe is meant to help girls in need, but no one is asked about their financial situation.

“We don’t ask their names,” Kivett said. “We ask what school they go to and how they found out about us.”

Committee member Jenn Bridgers said it’s not always easy for someone to ask for help.

“We want them to feel loved. We want them to feel totally comfortable, welcome and that we’re glad they’re here,” she said. “We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus and show God’s love.”

This will be the sixth year for The Prom Shoppe, which began at the suggestion of a church member.

The first year, 10 dresses were given away. This year there will be more than 700 dresses available in the makeshift boutique.

Kivett said a new location at the church’s Hughes Street campus will offer more space and plenty of parking. Donations will be accepted until the day of the event.

The committee has contacted high schools, social workers and local ministries to identify girls who might need help affording the big night out.

“We just want to get the word out,” Kivett said. “We see people who last year would not have expected to be in this position. Most of the girls bring their moms. The moms are so grateful.”

The Prom Shoppe is open to girls from Wake County and surrounding counties.

“They line up early, before we open,” Bridgers said.

The boutique is set up to appeal to teens, with music playing and hot pink, black and white decorations. There will be 14 dressing rooms and a host of volunteers to assist the shoppers.

This year, unlike in prior years, the doors to the shop will not open until the advertised time.

“But we will stay until the last girl has her dress,” Kivett said.

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