Charla Cummings browsed the racks at countless shops and searched Web sites for the perfect prom dress.
Cummings, 18, a Richland High School senior, fell in love with a long black and teal gown, but after being laid off from her part-time job at a frozen custard joint, the $200 price was out of her reach.
So when she heard about a prom dress donation program for the Birdville school district, she knew she had to check it out. After scouring rack after rack, Cummings spotted it: a long, fitted black and white gown with a swirl pattern that resembled her perfect retail dress.
"A $200 dress wasn't in my parents' budget or mine," she said. "It's such a relief to find a dress I love for free."
As the economy continues to shed jobs and raises remain rare, luxuries like pricey prom dresses have slipped out of reach for many high school students. Realizing the need, Janie Wood, 72, of Richland Hills, started collecting prom dresses last year to give to high school girls and families who need help.
Wood hopes to expand the program to the rest of Tarrant County next year.
Wood hit up friends, neighbors, strangers, local stores and area universities for new and gently used dresses. Short. Long. Black. Blue. Red. Gold. Spaghetti straps. No straps. Full-bodied. Slinky.
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