Donated prom dresses give young storm victims glimmer of hope
Renarda Archie stands on the steps of the destroyed Pratt City home where she and her family rode out the deadly storm.
May 6th, 2011
11:32 AM ET

Donated prom dresses give young storm victims glimmer of hope

Prom night is fast approaching, and the halls of P.D Jackson-Olin High School are filled with excitement.

"Been trying on dresses for days, haven't found one that fits," said Brandi Johnson, 18, a senior at the school in Birmingham, Alabama.

Rooms are overflowing with dresses and shoes. An office is being used as a dressing room. The girls stream in and out, trying to find the right dress.

"Not even at the prom shop did I have this many choices," Johnson said while trying on her 10th dress, still looking for that perfect one.

The school wasn't damaged by the tornadoes that tore across the region last week, but some of its students' homes were destroyed, and some lost everything.

In neighboring Shelby County, a room is filled with racks and racks of donated prom dresses that have been arriving around the clock from as far away as Texas.

"They're just looking for a way to help, and this is a tangible way. A lot of people have said, 'I can do that; I have dresses hanging in my closet,' " said Cindy Warner of the Shelby County School District.

Warner says that in the days after the violent storms, she received a request from a local school that needed 30 prom dresses for students who had lost everything. Word got out through local and social media. The response was overwhelming: In less than a week, more than 1,000 have shown up.

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Filed under: Alabama • Weather