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Prom dress drive puts formal options in everyones reach
Elisabeth Crofts sits among some of the dresses and gowns donated Saturday. For the past five years Crofts has collected gowns that are made available to underprivileged girls who may otherwise not be able to afford a dress for prom or other formal events. - photo by Julia Harison

To feel like a princess is a dream many girls share, but not every girl is able to afford a dazzling ball gown or prom dress. Elisabeth Crofts and the United Way have tried to change that in Bryan County.
Crofts, in conjunction with the local United Way, held a prom dress drive Saturday at the Richmond Hill Public Library. Nearly 50 dresses and gowns were donated so that girls who may not otherwise be able to afford a formal dress can still have a chance to go prom or other event.
Throughout the afternoon a steady stream of dresses flowed in to the multipurpose room of the library. Varina Moser was one of the many who came to donate to the charity.
“I think this is a very good cause,” she said. “I wanted to do it in past years since my daughter is 19 and we have a closet full of dresses. It is a very good cause and we need to give to others.”
Nicole Barthelme also stopped by to make a donation.
“There are many girls, who want to go to the prom, or girls who are in ROTC and want to go to the military ball, and a lot of them might not be able to afford their dresses,” she said. “This is a good idea, so they can get a dress and can get the opportunity.”
This is the fifth year Crofts has been collecting gowns. Her mother, Regina Crofts, said the idea first came when her daughter was a 14-year-old Girl Scout thinking of projects for her Gold Award. The first year, she collected clothes for teens, but she later switched the effort to formal wear.
Elisabeth Crofts, who is now 19, said the project has since become a United Way effort.
“They (United Way) do a lot of the hard work, and we just collect dresses,” she said. “Students can go to the guidance counselor, who should have information for the United way contact to get those dresses. The United Way usually takes care of that part. But the guidance counselor is the first step.”
Crofts said last year she collected 40 dresses. But she was even more pleased with this year’s donation of 47.
“It has been a huge success,” she said with a big smile.
She said the United Way currently has more than 200 dresses for students — from Bryan County and the surrounding areas — to choose from.
And though the drive is over, it’s not too late to donate a dress. Prom dresses, ball gowns, shoes and jewelry can be dropped off at the Richmond Hill Public Library, the United Way or with Crofts. She can also be reached at

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