Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Jennifer Wanisko, program director of the YWCA of Bethlehem, and a large group of volunteers organized and assembled over 2,000 “nearly new” formal gowns on the second floor Blast Furnace Room of the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem. Many gowns were collected in “dress drives” sponsored by Lehigh Valley businesses; others were contributed by individuals. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                   Jennifer Wanisko, program director of the YWCA of Bethlehem, and a large group of volunteers organized and assembled over 2,000 “nearly new” formal gowns on the second floor Blast Furnace Room of the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem. Many gowns were collected in “dress drives” sponsored by Lehigh Valley businesses; others were contributed by individuals. Copyright -
Anna Lopez, a senior at Emmaus HS, found a beautiful red gown, high heels to match and other accessories for $15. The price was for her gown -- everything else was free. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anna Lopez, a senior at Emmaus HS, found a beautiful red gown, high heels to match and other accessories for $15. The price was for her gown -- everything else was free. Copyright -
Seamstress Virginia Hope (right) volunteered her services for the event, fixing minor problems in gowns on the spot. Larger issues were referred to Linda Nevins (left), owner of Fit’n Images in Nazareth, who provided assistance at 10 percent off the usual price. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seamstress Virginia Hope (right) volunteered her services for the event, fixing minor problems in gowns on the spot. Larger issues were referred to Linda Nevins (left), owner of Fit’n Images in Nazareth, who provided assistance at 10 percent off the usual price. Copyright -
Pop-up changing rooms were busy throughout the sale. On their way in, girls passed tables of jewelry and other accessories that were available for no charge.press photos by dennis glew Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pop-up changing rooms were busy throughout the sale. On their way in, girls passed tables of jewelry and other accessories that were available for no charge.press photos by dennis glew Copyright -
A gown donated by a private party caught the eye of several girls. Noelle Vargo of Pen Argyl stopped to have a look, but felt it wasn’t her style. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A gown donated by a private party caught the eye of several girls. Noelle Vargo of Pen Argyl stopped to have a look, but felt it wasn’t her style. Copyright -
A volunteer tidies a table of high heels of every color, design and size. The girls were welcome to pick shoes that matched their dress and their fancy. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A volunteer tidies a table of high heels of every color, design and size. The girls were welcome to pick shoes that matched their dress and their fancy. Copyright -
Katie Mericle, a senior at Parkland HS, came to the ArtsQuest Center in search of a gown and accessories. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Katie Mericle, a senior at Parkland HS, came to the ArtsQuest Center in search of a gown and accessories. Copyright -
Each girl received a “goody bag” that included make-up donated by Wegmans that she could use for the prom. Volunteer Brittany Gebhardt demonstrated the art of making oneself up to one of the girls. Copyright -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Each girl received a “goody bag” that included make-up donated by Wegmans that she could use for the prom. Volunteer Brittany Gebhardt demonstrated the art of making oneself up to one of the girls. Copyright -

Bargain gowns help prep for prom

Monday, March 30, 2020 by Dorothy Glew Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Every year around this time, high school seniors’ and juniors’ thoughts turn to the annual prom. Part of the enjoyment that goes with the prom is selecting a gown and accessories. For that reason many young women and their mothers have minimized the cost by shopping at the Pop-Up Prom Shop, where “nearly new” gowns sell for a mere $15 apiece. This year the Bethlehem YWCA hosted its thirteenth annual community prom dress day March 2, at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks.

Not surprisingly, there was quite a crowd of customers. One hundred fifty girls from 30 local high schools registered to shop. All they needed was a school ID to do so. About 40 percent of the shoppers have financial need.

Dress donations, which came from both companies and the parents of college-age girls, could be dropped off at several locations around the community. This year the event was sponsored by Air Products, Wind Creek Bethlehem, Cedar Crest College, Provident Bank, and RCN.

This was a shopping experience that many customers will probably never forget. There was rack on rack of barely used gowns, most full length, some knee length, in every style and color imaginable. There were also formal dresses. If they wished, customers could buy two gowns for $15 each. As if that weren’t enough, girls could also help themselves to shoes, handbags and jewelry at no cost. As with the gowns, there was quite a range of these items to choose from.

In addition to the donors, a corps of volunteers made this wonderful event possible. Planning begins in September by a committee of 12 women. A group of over 50 YWCA volunteers work the day before and the day of the sale. In addition to setting up, they return to the racks gowns that customers didn’t buy. Twenty customers shop at a time; the others study their phones intently while waiting their turn.