Non-profit offering alternative to budget-busting season
Renting is better than buying. That’s the message Liz Gallagher and Lou-Anne Hood are trying to get out as prom season heads into an often budget-busting high gear.
Hood and Gallagher are part of a three person team behind A Promise For Prom, a non-profit effort that aims to dress underprivileged teens from head to toe, and all for free, for the traditional grad ball that marks the end of the high school years. To date, the effort has amassed more than 1,200 donated prom dresses and close to 200 suits, slacks, or men’s separate pieces (there is a shortage of men’s dress shoes.) And now the ladies want to get the word out that all of their dresses are available to rent for the donation of the person’s choice. “This way someone gets to wear one of these beautiful dresses that are just sitting here, and we can help fund our program,” Gallagher said, adding the garments can also be rented year-round for occasions such as weddings, formal evenings, and more. Last week many of the dazzling frocks and dapper suits were on display during a photo shoot the women organized in order to promote their collection. “We just want people to see how many beautiful gowns we have, and how nice they are,” Hood said. And they are. The collection ranges from impressive Disney-esque princess ball gowns, to sleek, body hugging sheaths, to glittering cocktail dresses. Ten volunteer models – six girls and four boys – donned outfit after outfit during the photo session that took place at Sucrerie de la Montagne, which had donated a room to the effort. Stefan Faucher said he and his wife wanted to support the cause. Also donating time was professional photographer Tanya Gural, of Love You Forever photo studio in Vaudreuil, as well as a team of professional makeup artists and hairdressers.
Ready to rent
Alysha Chenel, 17, one of the volunteer models, was enthusiastic about the idea of renting a dress. “I think it’s an awesome idea. I’m more than willing to come rent a few of these dresses when it’s my turn to go to prom next year,” she said, adding that she’d fallen in love with a strapless emerald green grecian gown, as well as a stunning, glittering full skirted ball gown. Tyler Roth, who modeled men’s clothing also thinks it makes financial sense. “Prom can be pretty expensive so if you can rent nice stuff like this and help them do a good thing for less fortunate kids at same time, why not?” he asked. Last year A Promise For Prom dressed seven girls and three boys from head to toe for their proms. Hood says they’re on track this year to dress as many as 20 teens, some of whom live in group or foster homes. Hood works with school guidance counsellors, social workers and organizations such as Batshaw Youth and Family Centres to identify teens in need of the “fairy godmother treatment.” To learn more about renting from A Promise For Prom, or about donating a dress or men’s suitings, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to their Facebook page.