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'Gowns for Prom': Colvin Cleaners teams with Reeds Jenss for gown drive on Saturday

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Thu, Mar 22nd 2018 02:55 pm
`Gowns for Prom`
"Gowns for Prom"
Donations of gowns, accessories encouraged
The Colvin Cleaners "Gowns for Prom" program, presented by the Allstate Foundation and supported by WKSE "KISS" 98.5 and on-air host Janet Snyder, has teamed with Reeds Jenss to ensure the 13th annual program achieves its goal: providing every young lady in Western New York who otherwise could not afford a dress one perfectly altered and dry-cleaned gown for prom.
On Saturday, March 24, donations will be accepted from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the following Reeds Jenss locations: 4001 Maple Road, Amherst; 1401 Military Road, Niagara Falls; and 3515 Abbott Road, Orchard Park. Those donating will not have to exit their vehicle, as volunteers will take the new or gently used formal gowns, shoes and purses of any size from patrons.
"We are so grateful to Jeff Zimmer, owner of Reeds Jenss, who has been a long-time supporter of our 'Gowns for Prom' and 'Coats for Kids' programs for hosting this gown drive on Saturday. Now that spring has arrived, we encourage everyone to go through their closets to find gowns they will no longer use and drop them off Saturday at any of the Reeds Jenss locations," said Paul A. Billoni, president and CEO of the dry-cleaning business.
The three Reeds Jenss locations have Colvin Cleaners' wrapped barrels inside their stores for the year-round collection of gowns, coats and accessories for both programs. Collections are also taking place at Colvin Cleaners, 2375 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; 40 Allstate insurance agencies throughout Western New York; six Erie County Department of Motor Vehicles offices; and inside Native Price Truck Plaza and Restaurant, 11359 Southwestern Blvd., Irving.
For a complete listing of all donation sites and a map, visit www.colvincleaners.com or www.gownsforprom.com.
Colvin Cleaners is in communication with nearly 90 high schools throughout Erie County, as well as Niagara County and as far away as Batavia and Jamestown. The steady calls from young ladies and schools scheduling times to select a gown has led the family business to seek more donations - especially plus-sized gowns (sizes 16 and up). Schools are encouraged to bring students together, possibly in a bus, so they are together selecting gowns and avoiding similar colors and styles.
The donated gowns are sorted by size and transported to Shea's Performing Arts Center for selection April 9-11 (3-8 p.m.). On each of the three days, Colvin Cleaners will have racks of thousands of new and donated gowns arranged on stage by size. The high school students select a gown and then are fitted by professional seamstresses upstairs in the stars' dressing rooms. The gown is then altered, dry cleaned, packaged and delivered for free by Colvin Cleaners to the young ladies' school in time for the prom.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Shea's, a world-class historic theater, donating its stage and three floors of dressing rooms for three consecutive nights for 13 straight years," Billoni said. "Working with Tony Conti and, now, Michael Murphy, and their outstanding staff at Shea's, has been exceptional. The opportunity they are giving these young ladies to experience what it is like to be a star just adds to the luster of 'Gowns for Prom.' "
Christopher A. Billoni, vice president of Colvin Cleaners, said, "We are so grateful for everyone who donates gowns to this program, because the smiles on the faces of these young high school students - who otherwise could not have afforded a prom gown - is priceless."
Volunteers, ages 18 and older (unless accompanied by a parent), are needed at Shea's in the distribution and restocking of gowns and monitoring of the dressing rooms. Also needed are seamstresses and tailors to assist with alterations of the gowns. For more information, or if you know of a young lady in need of a prom gown, visit www.gownsforprom.com.
"Gowns for Prom" is a 501(c)(3) under the Goodwill Industries of Western New York provision.
The Shea's stage filled with gowns.

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