Every girl wants to look like a princess on prom night. But for some families, the cost of a prom dress can be prohibitively expensive. According to Visa’s 2015 prom spending survey, the average southern family with a prom-going teen will spend around $544 on the one-night event. A girl’s attire can be the most significant part of that expense.

Fortunately, girls don't need a fairy godmother. The South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division’s Cinderella Project provides dresses for teenage girls who lack the financial resources to participate in prom. Each year, the organization sets up a boutique filled with dresses, shoes, jewelry, handbags and makeup and allows girls to shop for free.

“We usually have between 120 and 150 girls come to shop in our boutique,” said Lisa Bentley, Greenville event organizer. “Almost every girl is able to find a dress.”

In order to provide dresses, the organization needs donations. Most of us have a bridesmaids dresses or prom dresses that, while beautiful, we never plan to wear again. Donating to the Cinderella Project is a great way to clear a little room in the closet, but more importantly, to really help a young girl.

“It really helps a girl’s self esteem,” Bentley said. “We take all kinds of dresses. There are girls with many different senses of style. Older dresses are great for girls who love vintage. We have had dresses before that we weren't sure anyone would want, but there were always girls who loved them.”

Bentley said she has even had girls looking for dresses for themed proms.

In addition to dresses, the boutique needs handbags, shoes, jewelry and new, unopened makeup. Dresses should be donated with a hanger and should be clean and free of rips and tears. Dresses of all sizes are accepted and there is a great need for plus-size donations.

Donations will be accepted through March 1 at Junior League of Greenville, 118 Greenacre Road and Savvy, 1803 Augusta St. East, Greenville.

“It is very gratifying for donors to know that a girl who might not have been able to go to prom, will have a memorable night,” said Bentley.

The boutique will be open 8 a.m. – noon March 11 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Shoppers must show a student ID.

“It is great to be in the boutique and see a girl leave with a big smile on her face,” Bentley said.

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