Free Formal Wear Given To Area High School Students

It was a shopper's delight Sunday afternoon at the Diamondhead Community Center. Dresses, tuxedos, and accessories were available for free, and not only for the upcoming prom season. But for other special events as well.

"I lost my prom dress from last year, so I had to get a new one," said OLA senior Colleen O'Brien.

"Actually, I was looking for a really nice graduation dress because my mom is coming down from North Carolina so she can see me at graduation, and I wanted something that she would like," said Bay High senior Sharayah Callais.

Thanks to the organization United Jewish Communities, there was a variety of formal wear to peruse, including a couple of name brand items from such designers as Vera Wang and Bob Mackey.

It's hard to believe this event, catering to students from throughout South Mississippi, came together in just a matter of days.

"Last week I said, 'You know, I think maybe the kids might need prom clothes.' They immediately sent out emails to every Jewish organization in the entire country on Tuesday. And by Friday, the clothes started arriving," said UJC Gulf Coast coordinator Sue Halpern.

More than 500 dresses and hundreds of tuxedos were up for grabs. And from the way some of these teens posed for the camera, they were very appreciative.

"I'm very happy to know that people care about, you know, all the people in Mississippi and things like that. It's really heartwarming," said St. Stanislaus senior Matthew Pierce.

"These kids have lost everything, lost absolutely everything you owned. And they're so excited and they're touching the clothes. These kids have touched my heart, you know. I feel a responsibility to them, so it makes me feel good," said Halpern.

The clothes left over from the event will be taken to various places throughout South Mississippi for students to come and look them over, including at Katrina's Kitchen in Pass Christian.