Most local school proms are taking place over the next couple weeks and that has the volunteers of the Giving Closet set to help. The Giving Closet is a program at Evangel Baptist Church, 5248 Southern Blvd., Boardman, that aims to help girls who can't afford a nice dress for the one big event in their lives.
"Last year, I heard about prom and the high cost of tickets," said Giving Closet co-founder Angela Ford. "How can girls afford the tickets, then buy a nice dress?"
Ford wasn't alone in her thinking. Church members Lisa Rohrman, Linda Hawkins, and Wendy Kelso also had the same feelings, but together the women were led to do something about it.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Boardman Center Middle School eighth-grader Elise Whited models a gown and shows off some of the 230 dresses that are part of this year’s Giving Closet at Evangel Baptist Church, 5248 Southern Blvd. in Boardman. The gowns will be given away to girls who want to attend prom, but can’t afford a gown.
"This was all an idea from God," Ford said.
The women got together and sought donations of gowns last year. When all was said and done, roughly 100 girls from Boardman and neighboring communities as far away as Girard had their gown to wear to prom.
With last year's success, the four women decided it was a program worth continuing. This year, they went to work again and got donations of 230 gowns, shoes, and even some jewelry. They already held a couple of giveaway dates and have one more set for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27.
"There are no strings attached, we are just reaching out into the community," Ford said. "Every girl should experience prom. Psalms 139:14 says, 'We are fearfully and wonderfully made.' Too few girls know that."
The program takes up a room at the church where girls can come in and choose the perfect dress. The women will be on hand to help and once the right dress has been found, the young girl need only say thanks as she walks out with a smile on her face.
The Giving Closet will remain up for the first two weeks of May, which should cover most area prom dates. Ford said any girl who cannot make the April 27 giveaway can call the church at 330-758-1151 and schedule a time to see the dresses. Ford said she don't want to see any girl miss the opportunity.
After mid-May the remaining dresses will be stored until next year when the women will again open the Giving Closet.