Mothers Trust Foundation sponsors free prom dress giveaway


Photo by Ayaan Hamid

The Mothers Trust Foundation collected more than 5,000 dresses and suits for this years Pop-up Prom Shoppe, most of them coming from local cleaners and clothes emporiums. Picture features a room full of prom dresses at the University Center of Lake County.

Last week, the Mothers Trust Foundation gave away free prom dresses to Lake County students at the University Center of Lake County.

The event, known as the Pop-up Prom Shoppe, is “a free prom dress give-away and a chance to spend more time on a college campus,” according to flyers that went to Lake County schools advertising the event.

“[A few years back] high schools reached out to us saying that they had students who really wanted to go to prom, [which] was a week away,” Reenie Umansky, Director of Social Media for the Mothers Trust Foundation, said. “They asked ‘do you have any dresses that you could donate to these kids so they can go to prom?’”

After that, Mothers Trust reached out to friends and family and managed to collect over 100 dresses and suits to donate to the students.

“The students were in tears that we did this for them, we were in tears because they were in tears—It was just such a happy, heartwarming feeling,” Umansky said. “Everybody should be able to come [to prom]. It shouldn’t be dependent upon if you can afford it or not. It’s a fun way to end the school year on a high note and we want everybody to be able to go.”

Since then, the Mothers Trust Foundation has worked to make the Pop-up Prom Shoppe an official event, teaming up with local businesses in Lake County to make it a reality.

“A friend of mine had said [that] Zengeler’s Dry Cleaners had a sign in their window saying that they collect formal dresses all year long, and distribute them to the Glass Slipper Project in Chicago,” Umansky said. “So, I reached out to Tom Zengeler and explained who we are and what we did, and he knew exactly who we were [and] loved our mission. He said, ‘Absolutely, I can totally help you with this. I have 5,000 dresses for you’ and we were like ‘whoa.’”

While the Pop-up Prom Shoppe is similar to other dress giveaways like the Glass Slipper Project in the sense that it gives away dresses, it also strives to give away educational opportunities. This is why Mothers Trust partners with the College of Lake County to hold their event.

“We wanted to be true to who we are as Mothers Trust and help children in need as well,” Umansky said. “We could be getting students who never dreamed of going to college [or] never thought college was for them [or] thought that there would never be a financial opportunity for them, so that was very important to us.”