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By KRISTIN BECK
For five years, Operation Prom Dress has helped outfit more than 200 girls for their high school proms, winter formals or other big events, providing dresses, shoes, makeup and jewelry – all for free. Now, the local organization needs help from the community to keep it going.
Co-organizer Samantha Abercrombie said she and co-organizer Jessica Breeden are struggling to pay the monthly storage fee to house the more than 1,000 dresses they have either purchased at yard sales or thrift shops or received from the community. The dresses have been stored at High and Dry Storage, 214 Hwy. 42 W., in Prestonville, for three years now. While the owners have generously given them a discounted rate on the rental unit, Abercrombie and Breeden are still paying the fee out-of-pocket, which is proving to be increasingly more difficult.
“We are extremely grateful [to High and Dry Storage], but we are still struggling for funds year by year,” Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie and Breeden created Operation Prom Dress because they saw a need for it in the community. Both are teachers at Cartmell Elementary. Abercrombie said she also saw her mom struggle each year to put her and her sister in prom dresses every year. “Rather than sell my prom dresses at a yard sale, I decided to do something better with them,” she said.
Operation Prom Dress has helped more than 200 girls from Carroll County, surrounding counties and even from out of state. Girls from Texas, Michigan and New York have reached out to Abercrombie through their Facebook page. The girl from Texas was visiting family in the Carroll County area, so the group was able to help her, Abercrombie said. Operation Prom Dress does not ship dresses, but Abercrombie said she helped the other girls find organizations like hers in their area.
She also has people contact her throughout the year that need help. If she has what they need, she said she tries to help them as well, all free of charge.
“Even if there is only one girl in the shop that tells you, ‘Thank you for helping me go to the prom,’ it makes it all worth it,” Abercrombie said.
At first, Abercrombie stored the dresses in her home, but they soon outgrew the space. If the organization was no longer around, “First, I’d be sad. I would hate for that to happen,” Abercrombie said. If she and Breeden could no longer pay to store the dresses, they would donate them elsewhere, but she does not want to see that happen.
Operation Prom Dress recently received a $100 donation from First National Bank of Carrollton.
“I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to First National Bank of Carrollton for donating to Operation Prom Dress,” Abercrombie said. “The support of local businesses to our nonprofit organization is crucial for our continued success.”
If you would like to donate to Operation Prom Dress, email Abercrombie at Samantha.Abercrombie@carroll.kyschools.us or Breeden at Jessica.Breeden@carroll.kyschools.us, or call Abercrombie at (502) 525-9785.