ANDERSON — Hanging from a lone rack in room J107 of Anderson High School is a royal blue ball gown with rhinestones, fit for a princess.
It sits there, along with A-line, asymmetrical and various other types of dresses, ready to be picked for junior and senior girls to take to the prom.
“The first day, two girls came in to get some supplies for a group activity and they started trying on dresses,” teacher Vickie Elrod said. “One of the new ones was white with pink, and it was like a princess dress, and the bodice was real tight. She tried it on and she’s going to be a little princess at prom.”
While prom dresses can cost hundreds of dollars, the gowns in Elrod’s classroom are free to girls in need of something to wear for one of high school’s most monumental nights. They’ve been available after school since mid-March and can be claimed until April 16.
Elrod has sponsored the prom since 2002 and has organized the annual dress shop for four years.
She originally sold gowns for cheap to help teens who may not be able to afford them, but after a surge in donations, she started giving them away for free last year.
So far, only three people have gotten dresses this year, but Elrod said there’s usually a boost in giveaways in April when a lot of girls decide to attend prom. Last year she distributed 25 gowns.
Long A-line gowns to strapless, short dresses are among what’s donated. Elrod said most of the inventory was given to her by teachers, although a woman gave her several last year and are still available.
“It can be reused again rather than hanging in someone’s closet,” Elrod said.
Elrod makes sure all of the dresses are in great condition, and some even still have tags on them.