Amarillo, TX - It's prom season, but not all students can afford some of the basic necessities to attend prom like buying a dress.
Palo Duro High School nurse Kelly Talkington created a prom dress closet in the school's basement for students because she realized some weren't going to prom because they couldn't afford a dress. Talkington said she didn't want anyone to miss out on the big dance because of money.
"We started about 6 or 7 years ago," said Talkington. "We had one special little girl who came in who needed a dress. She had a date to prom, but there was no money and nobody had any money to buy her a dress. So we put out an email to our staff asking does anyone have a prom dress size 8 in their closet at home we could borrow? Well the next morning we had 12 dresses."
Talkington said she knew she had to continue the closet to help other students in the same type of situation. "There's a huge need. Prom is very expensive. The tickets here are $25 a piece, so it's $50 for a couple. And by the time you do pictures and you eat, the idea of a two or three hundred dollar dress is kind of overwhelming. So we can help with that."
Since the closet started, they've received hundreds of dress donations and some even still have a tag on them. Talkington said she gives out about 50 dresses each year. The closet isn't just helping students at Palo Duro. It's helping students all across the Panhandle. "We've helped little girls from Palo Duro and all four Amarillo schools, both Canyon schools, schools around the community, Bushland, Groom, Borger, Pampa, we've had girls come from Canadian, and we had a little girl come from New Mexico just to get a dress," said Talkington.
The closet is looking to expand to help boys as well, but they need funding. "We'd love to be able to offer boys with a coupon or something to help them with the cost of a tuxedo rental," said Palo Duro High School theater teacher Shannon Mashburn. "And of course with most of these being used dresses, we'd love to get some dry cleaning done so the dresses are really clean and top notch whenever the girls get them." Mashburn said the closet also needs dresses in bigger sizes.
To donate dresses to the closet, contact Palo Duro High School at 806-326-2400.