03/11/10 — Needy teenagers can get free prom dress from church program

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Needy teenagers can get free prom dress from church program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 11, 2010 1:46 PM

As prom time approaches, there is another option for girls in need to find the right dress.

Dana Southerland, owner of Bridal Gallery, started a program, Dana's Wardrobe, three years ago, initially providing dresses from her store or slightly-used dresses that were donated.

The program became so successful, dresses started coming in from other bridal stores in Mrs. Southerland's network. Now, 90 percent of the prom dresses are brand new, she said.

Recipients -- juniors and seniors in need, be they victims of a house fire or other circumstances making it cost-prohibitive to afford a prom dress -- must be referred by a pastor, school counselor or teacher, or social worker.

This year, the program will be done entirely at Garris Chapel Church in LaGrange, Mrs. Southerland's church.

"We have a new Family Life Center, so everything can be done there," she said. "The girls can have privacy and try on dresses. The secretary does all the appointments."

They are already taking referrals, trying to accommodate all who need the service in time for area proms, and plan to wrap up the season by April 15, Mrs. Southerland said.

"We have sizes 2 to 18, more smaller sizes, and a wide variety of colors and styles, from cocktail dresses to formals," said Christina Brown, secretary at Garris Chapel.

A select group of shoes and accessories are also available, and minor alterations can be done.

For more information on the program, call the church at 252-566-4355.