Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Benicia High seeking donations for prom attire drive

(Originally published in the 2/2/16 edition)

   Prom is just a few months away for Benicia High School students, so the time to buy outfits ahead of time is right now. Unfortunately, the cost of prom dress and tuxedos these days is rather exorbitant, but fortunately Benicia High may be able to help in that regard. 
   The school’s leadership class will be holding a drive for slightly used prom attire and accessories on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12. According to Mary Wheat, the director of student activities, she had been receiving suggestions to do a prom drive for years.
   “Every year, I get people calling me and asking me if we’re doing any kind of a drive, and usually my response was ‘No, we’re not doing that,’” she said. “This year, I thought ‘Why not?’ We’ll collect dresses and have a couple days where kids that can’t afford dresses can come in and choose a dress since they’re so expensive nowadays.” 
   Wheat says she has gotten tremendous amount of response by people wishing to donate.
   “We’ve had so many people respond to my email, and I guess somebody put it on Facebook, and I’ve had many calls about people wanting to donate dresses that they’ve worn once and will never wear again or even people in the community that are selling dresses who have said they wanted to donate dresses that are new.”
   The drive is still accepting donations. Among the items wanted for girls are prom dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories like purses. Acceptable donations for boys include sport coats, tuxedos and shirts.
   “We might be limited on the boys’ stuff, but we do have some things for boys,” Wheat said. 
   Donated items must be dry cleaned and in good condition, not torn or falling apart. Wheat also says the donated items should not be out of style and recommends outfits from 2006 or later.
   “We want something that would appeal to the generation of kids we have now,” she said. 
   Wheat believes the drive will provide a helpful service to students of Benicia and beyond who are unable to afford the proper outfits.
   “I think Benicia is a little bit more of a middle-class group, but we do have some students here that are a little more lower-income that could benefit from having this service,” she said. “We’re reaching out to other communities too. It’s not necessarily just Benicia, but anyone that needs a dress is welcome to come in and look.”

   People can drop off their donations between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays through Fridays on dates when school is in session at Benicia High School’s main office, located at 1101 Military West. Prom will be held Saturday, April 15 at the Metreon in San Francisco. Wheat says the logistics of the drive are still being worked out, but she believes it will be held in the school’s leadership classroom. For more information, contact Wheat at mwheat@beniciaunified.org or call 747-8325 X 2907. 

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