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Stories From Main Street: Old Clothes Get A Second Life During Prom Season In Katonah

KATONAH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - It might be hard to believe, but in the same town where Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren live, there are some teens who can't afford to attend their prom.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams On The Story


Therefore, members of the community have decided to help.

"One of the most fun things we do, we ask our community to donate prom and party wear for boys and girls," Sherry Wolf, executive director of the Community Center of Northern Westchester in Katonah, told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. "It's a very expensive thing to do and if we can help them with the dresses, the tuxedos, shoes, accessories that are donated here."

Adams looked a rack of some of the donated items, and noted that some could have come from wedding parties.

"They're beautiful and they're so much fun. The community enjoys donating them, knowing that these items which sometimes don't get a second or third wearing will be used again," said Wolf. "They don't have to spend a penny and we hope that they'll take advantage of this opportunity because we have the dresses here and we only want to see them being worn by people with big smiles and a fun time ahead of them."

Wolf told Adams that they go to great lengths to protect the privacy of the recipients.

"There's a lovely store in Mount Kisco called the Elephant's Trunk and they very generously let us bring the clothes to their location one evening in April," Wolf said. "The young women who might need these clothes can go there and try them on as if they were princesses and queens."

Stories from Main Street
Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

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The center is always looking for food for its pantry, but this time of year, they also want your old formal wear.

"There's something very magical about the end of winter, beginning of spring when we mention to people, 'What about prom clothes?' and they just [say] 'Oh! I have something in my closet. That sounds like great fun. Let me go look,'" said Wolf.

Some private schools even bring in the clothing after dry cleaning it.

Wolf told Adams that the center serves 30 communities.

"We give out food and clothing and other services to anyone who comes to us who says they need it, and we have been doing this for 20 years," Wolf said.

To contact the Community Center of Northern Westchester, you can check out their website, visit them at 84 Bedford Road, call them at 914-232-6572, or e-mail them at

Do you know of any other organizations doing work like this? Share the story below!

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