Kenmore, NY (March 10, 2020)—The 15th annual Colvin Cleaners Gowns for Prom program, presented by The Allstate Foundation and supported by Reeds Jenss and Shea’s Performing Arts Center, has officially begun. Colvin Cleaners, the family-owned dry cleaners since 1931, collects gently used or new gowns for high school students who are unable to afford a gown for their prom.
Colvin Cleaners is anticipating another strong turnout as it communicates with nearly 90 high schools in Western New York. The students are encouraged to visit the website www.gownsforprom.comand click “Get A Gown” to learn more about the gown distribution process on the Shea’s Performing Arts Center stage April 7-9 from 3-7:00 p.m. Schools are asked to communicate with students about the Gowns for Prom program and encourage them to carpool together.
Gowns for Prom seeks donations of new or gently-used formal gowns, shoes and purses of any size all year round, but especially during the program in March. There is a huge need for plus sized gowns, sizes 16 and up. The donated gowns are sorted by size and transported to Shea’s for selection. For each of the three days, Colvin Cleaners will have racks of thousands of gowns arranged on stage by size. The high school students select a gown and then are fitted upstairs in the dressing rooms at Shea’s by volunteer seamstresses. The selected gown is then altered, dry cleaned, packaged and delivered for free by Colvin Cleaners to the students’ school in time for their prom. If delivery is not an option, the students can just take the gown they selected right from the event.
“We are so pleased to once again host Gowns for Prom at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, a world-class historic theatre donating its stage and three floors of dressing rooms for three consecutive nights for the 15th straight year,” said Paul A. Billoni, President & CEO of Colvin Cleaners, who founded the program with his wife, Cyndee.
“Working with Michael Murphy (Shea’s President) and his outstanding staff has been exceptional. The opportunity they give to these students, to experience what it is like to be a star, just adds to the excitement of Gowns for Prom.”
“Part of our core mission at Shea’s Performing Arts Center is to help the community we serve. By providing our stage, crew, and resources to the Gowns for Prom program, we know we are helping, in part, make students’ dreams come true,” says Michael G. Murphy, Shea’s President. “We are proud to partner with Colvin Cleaners and this incredible program. We are happy that Gowns for Prom has a home on our stage.”
Donations of new or gently used gowns, shoes or purses can be made at 40 Allstate Insurance Agencies throughout Western New York, Colvin Cleaners, 2375 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore, the six Department of Motor Vehicle offices throughout Erie County, the Reeds Jenss locations and Native Pride Travel Plaza in Irving. For a complete listing of all donation sites and a map, visit www.colvincleaners.com or www.gownsforprom.com.
The Allstate Foundation is the presenting sponsor for the Colvin Cleaners Gowns for Prom and Coats 4 Kids programs. Coats and gowns are collected year-round in their offices.
“It brings tears to our eyes to see these students on the stage at Shea’s find that perfect gown and then to see them after it has been professionally altered by one of the many seamstresses who donate their time to Gowns for Prom every year,” Billoni adds. “We are so grateful to those who have donated gowns over the years because the smiles on the faces of these high school students, who otherwise could not have afforded a prom gown, is priceless.”
Volunteers, aged 18 and over, unless accompanied by a parent, are needed at Shea’s in the distribution and restocking of gowns and monitoring of the dressing rooms. Seamstresses and tailors to assist at Shea’s with alterations of the gowns are also needed. For more information, or if you know of a student in need of a prom gown, visit www.gownsforprom.com.
Gowns for Prom is a 501c3 under the Goodwill Industries of Western New York.