FLETCHER, Ohio (WDTN) – A Miami Valley church is pouring its faith into prom season. Fletcher United Methodist Church is distributing free formalwear and accessories to area teens.
According to a Visa report, prom costs the average attendee more than $900. The hassle of finding affordable options inspired Kelly Cook to collect donations for Fletcher UMC’s ‘Hope Closet.’
“That is a really important (rite of) passage for a teenage girl: to feel like a princiess, to walk into prom know they are beautiful, they look beautiful,” she said.
A mother of three daughters, Cook recalled shopping for the perfect dress, in addition to other expenses incurred during the high school dance night.
“You add in hair and the makeup, shoes, accessories, jewelry… if they go out with friends, there’s dinner out,” Cook said.
The Fletcher community and beyond jumped to help when Cook created a Facebook page to collect items for the Hope Closet. Donors dropped off dresses, suit jackets, shoes and accessories. Monday, another church planned to donate 1,000 items to the cause.
“You can think in every community how many teenagers are left out of (prom) because of that exorbitant cost,” said Rev. Cindee Johnson, the lead pastor at Fletcher UMC. “For us to be able to do this and have the community come together for this is just beautiful.”
Saturday, March 16, the church will host a shopping day for prom-goers. Participants can arrive at Fletcher UMC between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. where personal shoppers will help select outfits, shoes, jewelry and accessories. Other community members are volunteering their time to teach hair and makeup tutorials and take professional photos. Goody bags will include gift certificates and other souvenirs.
Organizers antipate having enough inventory to continue the Hope Closet during Homecoming dance season and future dances.
Hope Closet Shopping Day:
What – Free formalwear & accessories for high school students struggling to afford prom
Where – Fletcher United Methodist Church: 205 Walnut St, Fletcher, OH 45326
When – Saturday, March 16, 2019; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.