TEWKSBURY, Mass. — As spring approaches, high school girls throughout Massachusetts begin the search for prom dresses and prepping for the milestone event – an event that brings extra stress to those with limited financial resources, notes Anton’s Cleaners.
“Celebrating its 16th year,” the cleaners says, “Caring Partners’ Belle of the Ball prom dress drive transforms high school junior and senior girls through the generosity of donors, sponsors and volunteers — true Caring Partners working toward one mission: Any girl who needs a prom dress will have one.”
The prom dress drive is running now through March 29. The company says, “Simply drop off your gently worn prom dress to any Anton’s Cleaners, Jordan’s Furniture or Enterprise Bank location. All good quality, gently worn or new prom dresses are welcome; plus size dresses are especially appreciated.”
Anton’s Cleaners notes that it cleans the donated prom dresses at no charge, and distributes to high school junior and senior girls who could not otherwise afford to attend their school’s prom.
According to Arthur Anton Jr., COO, Anton’s Cleaners, and a founder of Belle of the Ball, “Our mission has remained consistent for the past 16 years: Every high school girl should have the experience of feeling beautiful, inside and out, at their prom. Thanks to a consistent presence and support by our generous corporate partners, dress donors and volunteers, we are proud to make this year bigger and better than ever.”
This year over 1,000 girls will be invited – more than ever before – to enjoy Boutique Day at the Hynes Convention Center, the cleaners notes, with dresses displayed in a variety of colors, styles and sizes.
Unlike other prom gown collection drives, this program culminates in a “boutique” event where deserving girls are invited for a day of personal shopping and pampering – a powerful personal experience.
Since attendance is by “invitation only,” students must be pre-qualified by guidance counselors, teachers and social service agency personnel, who may now refer high school girls to the program online at Anton’s.
For sixteen years, the cleaners relates, girls have shared final prom dress photos and written to the program with transformative stories, describing the impact Belle of the Ball has had not only as a clothing drive but the positive change in the way they felt about themselves.
To date, it adds, nearly 5,500 girls have been outfitted since Belle of the Ball began in 2005, with over $2.7 million in drycleaning services donated by Anton’s since the program’s inception.