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Ann Arbor dress donation program aims to put prom within reach for every girl

Janice Wery is founder of A2 Prom Dress Project

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Janice Wery’s Ann Arbor living room has been overtaken by dresses in every color, size and style.

"Things live in my living room more than I do," she said.

Wery is the founder of the A2 Prom Dress Project. It was a little idea she had as she volunteered at a local thrift shop.

“Dresses would come in there and just sit there,” Wery said. “We’ve got to have a better venue to get these dresses out of closets and give them another chance.”

That one little idea has grown into a very big operation. This year, she has more than 500 dresses.

The way it works, Wery asks for gently worn gowns. She then washes them by hand and irons each one. In the spring, she holds a sale.

In its sixth season, it’s bigger than ever. So much so, Wery has had to get a storage unit to house all of the dresses.

The dresses cost $10-$25. That’s a steal when you think of what they would cost brand-new.

“I truly believe it doesn’t have to be a financial need,” she said. “There’s an alternative here. It’s for anyone who wants a dress.”

Wery said she puts thousands of hours of work into this and when a young girl finds “The One,” her heart melts.

“When the girls get a dress that’s meant for them, the smiles are just really beautiful and make you feel great,” Wery said.

The A2 Prom Dress Sale is March 11 at the Holiday Inn at 3600 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. 

Wery takes dress donations year round. Contact her at A2promdressproject@comcast.net.