By Kathy Jefcoats
LOVEJOY — For the second year in a row, members of First Baptist Church are providing prom dresses and all the accessories needed to make a high school girl’s dreams come true.
Last year, the church outfitted about 50 girls. This year, Terri Hardin hopes to double that number. Hardin is the pastor’s wife and the prom dress ministry was her idea. This year, the girls will be fitted at the church March 15, 16 and 17. Friday’s hours are 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday’s are noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday’s are1 p.m.-5 p.m.
The church has about 400 dresses available, much of which were donated after last year’s event.
“This summer we did receive a donation of 10 dresses from Betsy & Adam, two dresses from Allure and 85 from Bridals by Lori,” said Hardin. “God is amazing and is so faithful to provide.”
Donations are still being accepted, especially for plus-size dresses, size 14 and up.
“We still would love to have dresses five years old or newer with no rips or stains,” she said. “We need to replace those that are given away.”
The church last year also gave away shoes, wraps, handbags and jewelry.
“The big need this year is jewelry, glitzy stuff but not expensive,” said Hardin. “Walmart sells necklace and earring sets for about $10.”
Representatives from Mary Kay Cosmetics will also be on hand this year to show girls how to apply make-up and hand out free samples.
“I also have to confirm that SuperCuts in Lovejoy is coming this year,” she said. “The manager said she will help us out.”
Any girl interested in participating should contact their school counselor for an application.
The prom dress giveaway idea came to Hardin, a Butts County teacher, when her daughter announced plans to attend the big dance last year. Hardin had to take a tutoring job just to pay for the dress.
As her daughter prepared for prom, Hardin wondered how other families managed to fund the first big social event in a teenage girl’s life. Even on her salary and her husband’s, prom presented a financial challenge.
“I just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do something for the girls who can’t afford a prom dress? So every girl who wants to go to prom can?’ ” said Hardin last year.
A quick online search revealed other churches across the country had taken on similar endeavors over the years with much success.
“I realized it wasn’t such a bizarre thought at all,” she said.
The church has had some help in getting out the word about the dress drive, called “Dreams Do Come True,” and have created a website. More information can found at www.dreams.VPweb.com.