TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A nonprofit in Tyler is helping junior and senior high school students across East Texas get ready for prom by donating dresses to those who can't afford them.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress collects gently used prom, formal, or bridesmaid dresses to donate to high school girls who can’t usually afford them. The nonprofit also collects gently used shoes and other apparel to help “finish” the look.
Brooke Reynolds, the found of Sisterhood, said she got the idea while she was cleaning out several old bridesmaids dresses she had
“I was trying to figure out where they should go, and I didn’t really find a local place to donate them, so that’s kind of how it came about,” said Reynolds.
Thus, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress was born. In the first year, Reynolds and company handed out 74 donated dresses to junior and senior high school students.
“Last year was the only year I’ve done it, but it was rewarding. Even the moms, they were just so appreciative,” Reynolds recalled. “So that kind of made it all paid off. One lady was like, I didn’t even think my daughter would go to prom because we couldn’t afford it. So yeah, that was pretty rewarding.”
Reynolds hoped to see the idea grow from year one to year two, and it appears it has. Several locations across the city of Tyler now serve as donation sites and temporary storage units of sorts, at least until the donated dresses can be sorted and organized.
“I saw her posting on Facebook last year asking for donations for prom dresses, and I had some to donate,” said Heather Tresner, a dental assistant at Rose Dental in Tyler. “It seemed like a good opportunity to help her out, and she seemed like she needed some volunteers. So, I just told her I was free to help her out if she needed it.”
Rose Dental, Wood & Bean, Your CBD Store, Guaranteed Rate Affinity, and House of Sunshine are currently accepting donations on behalf of the Sisterhood.
Tresner joked as she recalled the previous year before they had help storing dresses anywhere other than their own homes.
“Last year we had dresses everywhere; some at my house, her house, the church, everywhere,” Tresner said. “So it’s nice to keep them all here [at Rose Dental], my boss lets us use the extra rooms for that.”
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress is hosting an event Saturday, Feb. 29, where students will be allowed to “shop” for prom. The first 200 girls will also get a special goodie bag with makeup and other must-haves.
“Prom is such a big deal when you’re in high school, honestly. Just the fact that they can go without feeling any different, I feel like it’s important... the prom is what you look forward to all year,” Reynolds said.
Along with dresses, Reynolds still needs the following donations of makeup and supplies: Lipstick, lip glosses, chapstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, fake eyelashes, blush, highlighter, makeup sponge or brush, nail polish, face mask, small lotion, small perfume, and/or other small facial products.
Anyone interested in donating new or gently used prom, formal, or bridesmaid dresses, shoes, makeup, or accessories can do so by visiting any of the designated donation sites.
Donations can be made to Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress’ PayPal account or via Venmo.