Dresses, suits to be given away at Abington Community Library

Feb. 18—CLARKS SUMMIT — The Abington Community Library wants to help area high schoolers look their best on prom night without going broke.

Teens can try on and take a donated prom dress or suit from the library on West Grove Street beginning Tuesday through March 31. To schedule a private 20-minute appointment to browse and try on dresses or suits from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, call the library at 570-587-3440.

Mary Graham, the library's youth services coordinator, was inspired to start the drive after seeing other libraries do similar prom dress drives on social media.

"I thought it was a great, innovative way to serve that (adolescent) population and really fulfill that need they have," she said.

It also meets a need in the community, giving more students an opportunity to attend prom by eliminating the financial burden of paying for a dress or suit. An analysis by PennLive in 2022 found a prom gown costs between $300 and $700 before alterations; renting a tuxedo costs between $100 and $250.

The library began collecting dresses and suits last month and the response was overwhelming. As of Thursday, it had collected a little over 70 gowns, 24 short-length dresses and 24 suits, said Judy Detter, the library's public relations coordinator. Some of the dresses were never worn, including ones brought for proms in 2020 that were canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. A few still carry store tags.

The drive gives others an opportunity to enjoy a nice piece of clothing typically worn one time, Detter said, adding that some people who dropped off dresses or suits said the clothes have hung in closets for several years.

"They're at a point where they're willing to part with (the attire) because they're not going to wear it again," she said.

Detter said the response to the drive shows how much the community comes together to support a cause. Graham hopes the success of the drive will help the library plan for a similar giveaway for Halloween costumes.

"This was a great and super successful way to get our feet wet," she said. "We're excited to be able to continue offering this for the community."

Contact the writer:

clee@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 ext. 5365;

@Cleespot on Twitter.