A prom dress that Kathy Schaefer bought for her daughter would otherwise hang unused in a closet.
It’s what prompted Schaefer, a Liberty Lake resident, to think about all the other forlorn prom dresses stashed away for dances that didn’t happen or those worn only once for a formal occasion.
So Schaefer posted in a Liberty Lake Facebook group requesting donated prom dresses to go to high school seniors. The teens could wear the formal attire at private gatherings or if schools are able to add proms later this year.
Daughter Hannah Schaefer, 18, a Central Valley High School senior, wanted to help her mom with the idea.
“The dress we’d purchased for (Hannah) a while back, she was thinking, ‘I’m not sure I want to wear this dress anymore,’ ” Kathy Schaefer said.
“Then, I started thinking, I bet there are other mothers who are in this same position who have all these dresses hanging, especially from years past. They shouldn’t be going to waste because they’re beautiful.”
She said a parents group has arranged for Central Valley’s seniors to have a private prom in May at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. It’s possible that a senior dance might still happen via the high school, Schaefer added, but she said that’s currently uncertain.
On the recent Facebook group request, Schaefer offered to organize the prom dress drive with donations accepted 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Liberty Lake Children’s Academy. Schaefer teaches preschool there.
The drive is likely to end near the last week in April, and, as of Thursday, they had about 20 dresses. Most are long formals in colors that ranged from royal blue to ivory and plum. Others were shorter lengths.
Schaefer said the dress selection will be open to any high school senior in the Spokane Valley community who might need a dress.
She and her daughter are still making plans on how, likely during that last week in April, they’ll make the dresses available for teens to select one, perhaps taking them to the high school or posting photos of them in the same Facebook group.
If a large number of them is donated, they will arrange times and a place for high school seniors to come and select from what’s available. Schaefer plans to ask that the seniors bring back the dresses after they’re used so the gesture can continue annually if all works out.
“I’m hopeful that I get dresses and that we can make this work,” Schaefer said. “I would do this annually, and that’s why we’re saying bring it back for someone else.
“I think, at some point, I might reach out to see if there is a cleaner in town that will be willing to clean the dresses. We’ll see what’s going to happen. There are a lot of unknowns here.”
But the hope is that high school girls get to enjoy wearing the expensive, formal attire otherwise stored away in closets.
“I think that’s it, that beautiful dresses can be shared. Why have it hanging in the closet when someone else can enjoy them?”
To drop off donations during April, the school is located at 1322 Stanford Lane in Liberty Lake.
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