By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Combined Community Services’ Glass Slipper event is back to help make prom dreams come true.
Through May 14, any Kosciusko County area student in need of a prom dress can set up an appointment to come and pick one out at no cost.
CCS collects donated prom dresses, in various sizes, colors and styles, and then gives them out to students in need.
Combined Community Services Volunteer and Intake Coordinator Lacey Alber organizes the event, which was first held in Warsaw in 2008.
Alber credits her sister, Alexis Light, with starting the event.
“Alexis had a classmate who told her she wasn’t going to prom for the sole reason she couldn’t afford it. My sister wondered how many other students in schools can’t afford a new dress or a tux for prom, so she came up with this event that helps all students have the chance to go to prom, regardless of income or other factors,” Alber said.
In the past, local businesses have contributed toward the event.
“I’ve had local restaurants donate meal gifts cards so the student can have a meal before prom. Fiesta Hair Salon donates free hairstyles for the event,” Alber said.
She hopes to get nail salons in town to donate a few free prom manicures this year.
“I will never say no to community involvement, so if there’s a place in town that wants to help out in any way I’d love that,” Alber said.
For this year’s event, Alber said she would love to have anything prom-related bought in. Dresses are the item most frequently donated, Alber said, but there is also a need for shoes, tuxes, restaurant gift cards and other prom accessories.
“Male Fashion in town has donated tux rentals to me in the past when I have a need for that, so if someone comes to me needing a tux rental, I can make that happen for them,” Alber said. “There’s more attention on the dresses, but absolutely I will make sure there are tuxes available to whoever needs one.”
Alber said the number of participants varies from year to year.
“Some years I only have nine participants, other years more than 20,” Alber said. “I always think that if I help even one student get ready for prom then it was a successful event.”
Alber said she’s been contacted by several people this year saying the reason they need a prom dress is due to some form of hardship due to the pandemic.
“Parents lost their jobs, hours have been cut, so finances have to go towards other things,” Alber said. “I went to prom for three years… it’s a fun high school memory, but it can get very expensive, very fast. Everybody walks different paths and has various incomes, so that’s why I have it open to anybody, because no student should have to miss out on prom simply because they can’t afford to go.”
Anyone who would like to donate may drop off dresses, tuxes, shoes, gift cards or other prom-related accessories at CCS, located at 1195 Mariners Drive, Warsaw, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.
Area students in need of a dress or tuxedo may email Alber at [email protected] to schedule an appointment.