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East Valley group collecting donated prom dresses for teens

CHANDLER, Ariz. – The East Valley Women’s League wants to make it possible for girls to go to their prom without breaking the bank.

They have set up about 50 bins around the Valley where your “gently used” prom dresses can be donated.

The dresses are brought to the Cinderella Affair office in Chandler. Over 3,000 dresses are already there, and they’ll be taking donations through February 28.

“We’re in the process of dress collection with new and gently used dresses,” said Traci Estenson, the Chairwoman of the Cinderella Affair, which is part of the Women’s League.

Teenagers will be able to come to this office at 411 North McKemy in Chandler to pick up dresses on five consecutive Saturdays starting on March 21. They will be available to high school students regardless of their economic situation.

“The only qualification is that you have to be a high school junior or senior with a valid school ID,” said Estenson. “It’s not necessarily for people in need, it’s just smart shopping.”

There is one girl who was helped last year who sticks out in Traci’s mind.

“Last year, we had a gal that really wanted to find a dress so bad because she wouldn’t be able to go to the prom because her parents couldn’t afford a dress for her,” Estenson said. “She found the perfect one. It was a yellow two piece dress. (I had been asking) who is going to ever get that dress? In she walked, put this dress on. It just needed a little hem that was done on site by the seamstresses that we have here, and it just fit amazing.”

The East Valley Women’s League has been offering the free prom dresses since 2002. When the girls arrive to pick up their dresses here, they’ll find three dressing rooms in which to try them on and seamstresses right on site.

This year, the league is also helping out a few high school boys. Estenson said that one boy from each high school in the Tempe district will be provided with a free tuxedo.

The league is also looking for donations of other things.

“We’re also looking for shoes, like evening shoes or sandals,” said Estenson. “We also give away shoes free as well as jewelry.”

For more information, including drop off locations, go to www.cinderellaaffair.org.