anne mikolay 2018Prom season is fast approaching. Local teenagers will be searching for the “right dress” to make their evening special. For some girls, however, the expense of a prom dress exceeds their family’s budget, and prom is merely an out-of-reach fantasy.

Catherine’s Closet, a New Jersey not-for-profit corporation founded and organized by Dr. Sandra Kessler, turns that fantasy into reality.

Catherine’s Closet is dedicated to the memory of an honor student and class valedictorian at Clifford Scott High School in East Orange, New Jersey, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident, Catherine was buried in her prom dress. Her desire to help others is fulfilled in Catherine’s Closet.

Since its inception, Catherine’s Closet has assisted more than 16,000 girls through its three chapters (in New York, Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and Tucson, Arizona). There are no specific requirements to receive a dress, no hoops to jump through, no red tape to navigate. To receive prom attire, all a girl in need must do is show up - no i.d. is required - on a dress distribution date in Newark, where prom fashion is available at minimal cost (cash only).

At Catherine’s Closet, a prom dress (including designer dresses) is $10.00. The cost of a handbag is $5.00; jewelry to complete the look is available for $3.00 to $5.00. 2019 distribution dates are Saturday, April 13th and Saturday, May 11, 2019, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at 550 Broad Street, 4th floor, in Newark, New Jersey.

This year, radio station Star 99.1 is partnering with Catherine’s Closet to make dress donation easier. If you have an age appropriate dress, purse, shoes, or jewelry to give, Star radio’s Dream Dress Drive Van will be in Piscataway, near the Smashburger parking lot, on March 26th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and in Bridgewater, near the Wendy’s parking lot, on March 28th, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. For further information on Star’s Dream Dress Drive go to star991.com. Mailed donations are accepted as well. Mail your donations to Catherine’s Closet, 24 Dwight Street, Wayne, New Jersey 07470.

Catherine’s Closet welcomes volunteers and is a great opportunity for teens in search of community service hours. Adults and teens interested in sorting donations at the dress distribution location noted above can do so Monday, March 25th at 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 6th, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Just show up!

The Atlantic Highlands Herald will be on hiatus from March 29th to April 21, so happy spring, happy Easter! See you later!