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Rootstown church giving away 400 prom dresses

Weekend event meant to help families in need
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Posted at 4:11 PM, Mar 03, 2022

ROOTSTOWN, Ohio — Glistening gowns in all shapes, sizes, and colors hung inside Community Bible Church days before a prom dress giveaway designed to help Northeast Ohio teens experience the big dance.

Prom On Us, celebrating its fourth year, is organized by Do Something Ministry which is part of Community Bible Church in Rootstown.

About 400 free dresses, along with shoes and jewelry were all donated. Organizers said there will also be hair and makeup trials, along with shirts, ties, and suits for the boys.

Prom On Us takes place at Cook Hall at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 5.

"The reaction when the girls come in, I don't think they're expecting to see what they see. I mean, it's pretty amazing what we have," said Vickie Smith, the Do Something Ministry coordinator.

Smith said the event has never had this many prom dresses. One reason for the increase could be the number of dresses that stayed in closets and weren't worn due to proms being canceled during the pandemic.

"I think it's a great way to show love for these kids. These kids struggle so much with everything going on in the world," said Nancy Bytnar, a member of the church.

Bytnar said her granddaughter got free dresses her junior and senior years and it felt like the dresses were meant for her.

"Had it not been for this program, she wouldn't have been able to go because her parents could not afford to buy the dress, pay for the ticket, and everything," Bytnar said.

Smith said the dresses are meant to go to families in need, but it's open to all teens in Northeast Ohio.

"Anymore if you can find a prom dress for less than $100, most of them are $200, $300, $400. I know people that have spent $500 on prom dresses," Smith said.

The church is continuing to accept prom attire donations ahead of the Saturday event. However, donations are also accepted year-round and can be used for future Prom On Us programs.

Those interested in helping should contact Community Bible Church at 330-325-9449.