The 14th annual “Gowns for Prom” hosted by Colvin Cleaners at Shea’s, kicks off Tuesday at 3p.m.
Colvin Cleaners has been collecting gowns and accessories throughout the year for the free distribution event. This year they estimate around 4-5 thousand dresses were donated. “The generosity of Western New York,” said Mike Billoni. “This speaks to it.”
Seeing that many dresses can be a bit intimidating, but they’ve got volunteers ready to help you every step of the way. “We just want to cover every detail of the whole event,” said Paul Billoni. “So when the young ladies come in we have someone greeting them.”
Girls bring their school IDs and are brought on stage to pick out and try on as many dresses as they would like. Over the past 14 years, the event has continued to grow — giving girls everything they need to have the perfect prom.
“Over the next three days we’re going to make the day for a lot of young ladies that otherwise couldn’t go to the prom,” said Mike Billoni.
It’s an experience Paul Billoni has seen first hand.
The event also brings things full circle for those involved. “Growing up having my mom and i go to the salvation army and pick out the curtains I wore,” said Marlena Gagner of Meraki Jewelry Design. She’s one of many volunteers donating their product and time.
Once the gowns are cleaned and altered Colvin Cleaners will deliver them to their school free of charge.
The event runs Tuesday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
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