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Prom gowns collected in Montgomery County for girls in need

February 7, 2019 GMT

Chances are that somewhere, hanging in the very back of a woman’s closet, there’s a dress hidden there that hasn’t been worn in years — the prom dress. One organization is encouraging women in Montgomery County to donate those dresses for a good cause.

The Junior League of The Woodlands has again teamed up with The Giving Gown Foundation with a goal to collect 1,700 gowns and formal wear for junior and senior high school girls who want to attend the prom but may not have the financial ability to do so.

Amber Niemeyer, who is the Junior League’s admissions and provisional chair, has been involved with the effort for all six years the organization has helped out by collecting the items necessary for prom.

“Our new members each year organize the collection of dresses, shoes and toiletry items,” Niemeyer said.

The Junior League’s new members have set up dress donation bins across Montgomery County and the greater Houston area, including in The Woodlands, Conroe and Spring.

The project is one of the ways the organization helps to give back within their own communities. In addition to the formal wear, Junior League also collects toiletries like shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste to give as “swag bags.”

“We want to build the potential of women and children within our community to build better communities. This effort aligns with our mission of doing things in our own hometown to help,” Niemeyer said.

The organization wants to collect all donations in time for the Giving Gown Foundation’s boutique days scheduled for March 27 through March 30, where the Junior League members will also serve as volunteers.

During those days, it’s time for the main event. The boutique is set up at Bammel Church of Christ in Houston with dresses on racks, volunteer seamstresses on-hand to do alterations and “fairy godmothers” there to help girls find their perfect dress for free.

Girls from the Houston area come to the event; some even come from other areas like Corpus Christi and Dallas. Recipients don’t need to prove they need the help — the foundation assumes that they are in need if they register to come to the event.

Cassie Miller, president of the Giving Gown Foundation, said while the girls receive everything necessary to attend their prom, the event is about more than just outward appearances.

“The girls come to us and leave with so much more than a gown. Our goal is to empower them to know they’re strong and capable and worthy of great things just as they are,” Miller said.

The foundation hosts an empowerment workshop as part of the event, where volunteers will mentor the girls in attendance by teaching them about self-esteem. There’s also the opportunity for the girls to apply for a college scholarship provided by Tide Dry Cleaners.

Miller said it’s important to have partners like Junior League to show the girls that there are people in the community who care about them.

“It’s hard to be a teenager anyway, but to have people who are willing to serve you in this way is really beautiful,” Miller said.

Donations are to be accepted until March 15. To see a full list of donation sites in the area, visit their website.