A Promise for Prom hoping to reach out to larger clientele
PHOTOS BY LAUREN MITCHELL
Lou Ann Hood and Liz Gallagher help teenage girls try on different prom dresses in the basement of Hood's home, which was redesigned to resemble a fitting and showroom.
A Promise for Prom is an organization started by Lou Anne Hood with the help of her partner Liz Gallagher in the hopes of relieving some of stress involved in buying a prom dress for girls who might not be able to afford one. After a sleepless night due to constant thoughts of how she could pull this off, she made the final decision to launch the non-profit organization dedicated to renting out prom dresses to teenage girls.
“As soon as I made the Facebook page, within the first day, I already had five dresses donated to me”, said Hood, recounting how she began. “Within the first week, I had over 100. Within the first month, over 300.”
Today, she has over 1300 dresses stored in her basement in her home, with sizes ranging from 0 to 28. She’s also collected 150 suits for boys. Hood took it upon herself to completely transform and decorate her unfinished basement in her Rigaud home to become a fitting room and stockroom for all of the clothing and accessories she has collected over the 12 months since she began this initiative.
“People have been looking for this, they’ve been wanting this,” said Hood. “I put it on Facebook and it hit fast, and I wasn’t ready. I thought it would be a gradual process.”
A Promise for Prom has grown tremendously in its short time of being an active organization, as now Hood provides more than just dresses for the girls who are going to prom, by offering the use of items like makeup, nail polish, jewelry, shoes, and clutches. She even works to try to get services by makeup and photography professionals for the girls. Hood and Gallagher act as consultants, making suggestions of dresses their clients may like and giving feedback to them once they’ve tried it on.
Realizing there was a huge need for this service, and already having outfitted more than 20 girls within the past year, Hood wants to expand the rentals of dresses for not only prom but also for other semi-formal or formal occasions.
“We have dresses, suits, and tuxedos for all occasions,” said Hood. “Come to us, rent from us, instead of spending hundreds of dollars to buy a dress that is going to sit in their closet.”
Hood still cherishes the initial idea of prom being the number one focus of the project, but would also love to invite anyone who would like to get ready for an event and who may not have the means to buy a new dress to donate a sum of their choice to the organization and rent a dress as an alternative.
“The program will always exist for the graduates,” said Hood. “That’s what I built, that is my passion, that is my dream, but if you have a wedding, a hot first date, any occasion that you need semi-formal to formal, we really have a bit of everything. I even have wedding dresses.”
Hood wants girls, boys, women and men to know that there are alternatives when money gets tight, and that she is there to guide them through whatever occasion for which they need to look their absolute best.
To reach Promise for a Prom, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.facebook.com/apromiseforprom