Tonawanda News


February 15, 2014

NT: Women collect prom dresses for girls in need

NT women collect prom dresses for girls in need

Tonawanda News — Prom. It’s a right of passage. A fairytale come true for some. The first real event where young girls can feel like a princess for a day. 

But for some, the ever-increasing cost of the dress, shoes, jewelry, etc., can make the prom more of a nightmare than a dream.

The average cost of a prom dress today ranges anywhere from $150 on the low end to $300 to $500 on the high end. According to a report in USA Today, the average price couples spent on the prom in 2013 was $1,139 which included dress, tuxedo, limo, hair, makeup, shoes, jewelry and flowers.

Those costs are only expected to rise this year. And for many students and their parents, the cost is just too high and many are left scrambling to find alternatives.

That is where two mothers from North Tonawanda come in. 

Cheryl McMahon and Brenda Hoffman, both mothers of students in the North Tonawanda school district, decided they needed to fill the gap for families in need who couldn’t afford sky-rocketing prom costs.

“We were just talking one day and realized that there was no place in North Tonawanda for girls to get donated prom dresses,” McMahon, a mother of six, said. “We had girls we knew who tried to get prom dresses in Erie County through their donated prom dress program but were turned away because they weren’t from the county.”

Hoffman said she understood the struggle for many parents to pay for prom.

“We both have daughters and knew how hard it can be,” Hoffman said. “Both Cheryl and I have a huge passion for this. We didn’t want the families to have to be burdened with the cost.”

McMahon and Hoffman first went to the school district to get permission to start collecting prom dresses.

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