CUOC collects prom dresses, accessories for girls in need

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

With local high school military balls and proms just around the corner, one nonprofit is amassing dresses to help area girls experience a magical night.

Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County, a local nonprofit that distributes food to residents facing financial hardships, is accepting prom dresses to give to needy girls at no cost, according to CUOC Executive Director Teresa Dew Kelly.

“We think about our clients,” Kelly said. “Families are struggling, and in this economy, people don’t have enough money for food or making ends meet. We still want girls to have the opportunity to go to prom. It’s a life-changing opportunity for some of these girls, and we want to make sure everyone is able to attend.”

CUOC collects prom dresses throughout the year, but with the first military balls slated for Feb. 22, and both Lee County High School and Southern Lee High School's proms in April, most of the donations are collected in the weeks prior to the big formals, she said.

If local high school girls need assistance, they can reach out to their guidance counselors and then attend a fitting at CUOC’s facility, located at 2885 Lee Ave. CUOC intends to help more than 100 girls this prom season, Kelly said.

“We’ll take anything,” she said. “Accessories, pocketbooks, shoes — anything needed for prom, even strapless bras that the girls could use. And we do have a shortage of big girl size dresses.”

CUOC will take donations from 2-6 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

CUOC is also partnering with other nonprofits and businesses to increase their donations. Southern Pines-based Brides, Etc. just donated 27 brand-new gowns, Kelly said.

Brides, Etc. was located in Sanford before moving to its current location, according to owner Sonja Lawrence. Lawrence, a Lee County resident, said her business has supported CUOC’s program for many years.

“We donate our year-end stock, brand-new pieces that didn't sell," she said. "It's a great, great charity and awesome organization.”

Prom is usually the first time a girl is significantly dressed up, and it’s important for girls who may not be able to afford a dress to also feel pretty and special for the evening, she said.

“I think it helps a lot of girls who otherwise wouldn't go,” Lawrence said. “Even for girls who can afford to go, it's an amazing transformation.”



What: Prom dress donations for Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County’s Second-Chance Prom Gown Program

When: 2-6 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Where: CUOC Thrift Store, located at 2885 Lee Ave.

More information: (919) 774-8485