Cinderella knows. A dress can make an important evening for a young lady.
But when prom night arrives, not every young woman has the money to buy the perfect gown. That's why the women of the Junior Service League of Beaufort are bringing back a prom-dress giveaway that stopped three years ago.
"I think we all know how it feels to go into our closet and not have anything to wear to an event," said Elizabeth Klosterman, who is heading up the committee for the Prom Boutique.
The organization is collecting dresses from now until March 3. "Boutique Day" will be at Studio B Dance Centre, 915 Greene St. in Beaufort, where junior and high school girls will be invited to try on dresses and take one home for free. Accessories and shoes also are needed. The group is trying to collect 300 dresses and is up to about 75.
The S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division once sponsored a dress drive in conjunction with the National Cinderella's Closet. That stopped in 2009 because of a lack of volunteers, according to Leigh Thomas, Young Lawyers communications director. "It's not because they wanted to (stop), but everything they do is volunteer-based, and the past couple of years, we just have not had the volunteer base."
Junior Service League is striking out on its own, and although the Prom Boutique is not affiliated with a national program, Klosterman said she got tips from the previous organizers.
Committee members are working with local guidance counselors and principals to identify students for a preview event and give them first pick.
"We want to make sure the girls who have been hit the hardest in these hard economic times have a chance to pick a really nice dress," Klosterman said.
The Prom Boutique is the signature project for the Junior Service League, which is expanding its community service role, president Emily Harris said.
Previously, the group only raised money for other organizations. It received nonprofit status last year and is now raising money for grants for projects that support the league's mission of improving the lives of women and children in Beaufort County, Harris said.
"We just want every girl to beam with confidence," Klosterman said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.