Project recycles old prom dresses to smiles and savings all around

March 16, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Prom season is fast approaching. And for most high school girls that means buying a fancy dress to be worn a grand total of once.

Ellen Barth, an Atholton High School junior, thought there must be a better way, so she came up with a project to recycle old prom dresses, make some money and help the community in the process.

Beginning today, county high school girls can donate their nearly new prom dresses or place them on consignment to be sold to other high school girls as part of Project PROMise.

"The idea originated from the dilemma of the high school girl," said Ellen, 17. "I have three dresses sitting in my closet."

The prom dresses are to be sold at half of their original price,

with 85 percent of the proceeds going back to the original owner and 15 percent going to help the county's homeless at Grassroots, which runs a shelter in Columbia, and the Domestic Violence Center, which operates five shelters for battered women and their children.

The proceeds from sales of dresses that were donated to the project will go entirely to the agencies. "Dresses are an extravagance and a luxury and there are people that don't have enough to wear," Ellen said.

Originally Project PROMise was to be limited to Atholton High School students, but the sale expanded to include all county high schools when Columbia Management became involved.

Columbia Management, a subsidiary of the Rouse Co. which leases and manages the village centers in Columbia, offered Project PROMise a vacant storefront in the Wilde Lake Village Center to use as a "dress shop." Other Columbia retailers have joined the project by offering discounts on prom-related services or products.

Wilhide's Flowers is giving a 15 percent discount on prom corsages and boutonnieres. Lord Baltimore Cleaners is offering a 15 percent discount on prom alterations.

King's Contrivance Formal Wear and Custom Tailoring is giving a 15 percent discount on tuxedo rentals and a 20 percent discount prom dress alterations. Sparks will be selling jewelry and accessories in the Project PROMise dress shop and will donate 20 percent of the sales to homeless agencies.

The Project PROMise dress shop is located in the Wilde Lake Village Center on Lynx Lane between Wilhide's Flowers and Mail Boxes, Etc.

The store will be open today, Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to accept dresses on consignment and donated dresses.

Dresses at the Project PROMise shop will be on sale from March 20 to April 4 at the following times: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information call Liz Buckley of Columbia Management at 992-3622.

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