Bargain gowns help prep for prom
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.