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Story and photo by Jo Mathis
AAPS District News Editor
Jan Wery jokes that friends who ask to see her mountainous collection of prom gowns in her basement have never been seen again.
“You can hardly move down there!” she quips.
Those gowns and many more will be featured at the fourth annual Ann Arbor Prom Dress Project Sale to be held Sunday March 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River Dr.
Clean, in-style, gently used prom dresses will be sold for $25 or less, cash only. The sale is open to everyone, regardless of financial need. Every dress is in like-new condition and has been expertly cleaned and repaired.
“Every girl, regardless of their size, shape, color or finances should be able to go to their prom if they want to,” says Wery.
Wery said she got the idea while volunteering at the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, where she saw many donations of prom dresses that simply weren’t seen by the high school girls who could use them.
Also a volunteer with the Bride’s Project in Ann Arbor, Wery started the project four years ago with three friends. While those friends have gracefully dropped out, she’s still going strong, shopping year-round at local second hand shops for prom dresses she buys, washes, and repairs for sale in the Prom Dress Project.
The Prom Dress Project is hosted by the prom committee at Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC) at WCC. Proceeds from the sale benefit the prom committee, and will help keep the sale coming in the future.
Emily Lintott is the student coordinator for the project at WCC. She and her mother, Judi Lintott, met Wery at last year’s sale, and became volunteers with the A2Prom Dress Project over the winter.
“I’m so excited to be part of this year’s sale,” said Emily Lintott. “I feel like the fairy godmother in Cinderella, helping so many girls become princesses for their big night.”
“I’m in for the long haul,” added her mother. “This project sort of captures your heart. When you see the anticipation, delight and excitement of every girl who comes to the sale, and the glow when they find their perfect dress, it’s like magic.”
Most of the dresses come from mothers cleaning out closets, as well as young women heading off for college or careers who realize they’ll never wear their prom dresses again, Wery said.
Dresses are accepted throughout the year, but must be donated before March 10 to be included in the March 13 sale.
Email A2promdressproject@comcast.net to arrange to donate your dress.