by Rachel Holtzman
While students prepare for prom by asking prospective dates, shopping for dresses and planning pre-parties, the Community Service Club finds ways to give back. In an effort to help girls who cannot afford prom dresses find something to wear to their event, the CSC is running a prom dress drive until April 5, in conjunction with consignment shop The Jumble Store in Cranford.
According to senior CSC member Julia Kuzman, after working successfully together in the past, the Jumble Store approached the CSC to work with them to collect prom dresses as part of a multi-organizational effort. The CSC and The Jumble Store also worked with the Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield, a charity organization which Kuzman says “collects clean and gently-used formal and semi-formal wear for girls in Union County with very limited prom budgets.”
Senior CSC Vice President Tiffany Tsui said, “Prom is something that almost every girl wants to experience once, and the unfortunate truth is that not everyone can afford it.”
According to Jumble Store Manager Marge Szymona, creating a prom outfit at a thrift store can be much easier, since the dresses are all sold at an affordable price.
Though this is the first year that the CSC has been in charge of the prom dress drive, following years of various clubs sponsoring it, Kuzman said that the Westfield community had already responded positively to it. She added that several dresses had already been dropped off at the donation spot in the front hallway.
Szymona said that after the prom dresses are dropped off at the store, girls can come in and be helped by extra staff, who volunteer to make the process easier for the store and the customers.
Club Adviser Mr. Warren Hynes said that the CSC has several ongoing projects, which gives students like Kuzman the opportunity to be in charge of their own ideas. Hynes added: “The service club is thrilled to have the opportunity to help the Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield with the meaningful work they’re doing…. I am especially proud of the work Julia has done in coordinating this drive.”
Kuzman said that she hopes students will realize how important it is to help girls who are struggling financially. “Fortunately, most girls in our community don’t have the financial limitations when going prom dress shopping,” said Kuzman. “The only stress for them is finding the right dress based on color, style and fit. However, imagine not even getting the luxury of those decisions because you don’t have the financial means. If you put yourself in others shoes, it makes donations easier and more meaningful.”