Imagine being a junior or senior in high school. You're over the moon because you've been asked to the prom by your dream date. You're excited for 10 minutes, until you realize the financial demands of this high school rite of passage.

Prom dresses are expensive these days, even before inflation has put so many things out of reach for working people. You don't have the money to buy a prom dress, and with the cost of gas, your parents don't either.

This is where the Freetown Regional Food Pantry steps in.

If you have a prom dress or two hanging in your closet, Freetown Regional Food Pantry is collecting them. Whether it is a bridesmaid's dress or a dress that you bought for a pageant, the food pantry is looking to gather as many as possible over the next two to three weeks.

"This whole thing sort of fell on my lap," said Ashley Katon, the organizer of the effort. Katon sits on the board for the pantry.

"I just love to accept anything and everything for the food pantry. Recently, somebody was looking to donate some dresses, and I said we'd absolutely accept them."

Katon says it spiraled from there. 

She thinks she already has roughly 25 dresses for anyone who might need one for the prom, but she'd love to collect even more. She's hoping to accept donations now through mid-April.  Then, with the majority of SouthCoast proms happening in the month of May, the effort will flip from collections to distribution.

"We don't have a ton of room in the pantry to try on the dresses, so I'm hoping to have them sign up before they come to make it as easy as possible," said Katon.

Ideally, the dresses will be dry cleaned, but the food pantry will accept them whether or not they have been cleaned.

People who would like to donate dresses can call or text the Freetown Regional Food Pantry at (774) 504-9347.  Ashley says she's even willing to come to you to pick up the dresses, or they can be dropped off at the food pantry on Tuesday afternoons between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Freetown Regional Food Pantry is located at the old Freetown Police Station, 225 Chace Road, East Freetown.

Anyone hoping to land one of the dresses can also call the food pantry. The dresses available are in all different sizes, but there are only a couple that are plus-sized.

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