Photo: Catherine Ford Bass owner of Lasetti’s and New To You, Lori Fitkin and Lori Boone from Blessed With a Dress donated prom dresses to Operation Prom Dress. The prom dresses will be given away for free on Feb. 23rd to area girls needing a prom dress. 

By Debby Schamber

For the Record

Prom gives girls the chance to sparkle and shine and feel like a princess for one special evening. But, some miss out on the opportunity because they can’t afford the dress. 

However, Teri Chaffin realized times are tough and not having a dress isn’t a good reason to miss the much anticipated prom. 

Chaffin whose two daughters attended proms when in school, knew of the expenses and wanted to do something about it to help others.

Chelsey Chaffin went to prom in 2016. Her mother, Teri, prepared her daughter for the big night and now wants to help others get a dress for prom too. As part of her ministry, Operation Prom Dress, a group of volunteers are giving away free dresses and accessories.

“I know how prom season is and some girls choose not to go because they don’t have a dress,” Chaffin said. “I don’t want that to be the reason why they don’t go.”

 It was then she started the Operation Prom Dress Ministry. She and a team of volunteers are collecting donations of prom dresses, shoes and all the accessories. Then the dazzling dresses and everything needed to make a girl’s dream of glitz and glamor will all be given away at no charge. 

“I am a wife and mom who enjoys helping others,” Chaffin said. “I truly believe this has been my gift from God. Everyone has a gift that God has blessed them with, but its up to us to use that gift.” 

With the help of her daughter, Chelsey, they created a flyer and set out spreading the news about the event and the donations needed to make it complete. It was also posted on social media and has been shared over and over again. She has also created a Facebook page. It can be found by doing a search on Free Prom Dress giveaway. 

Recently, Chaffin was contacted by a business in Lake Charles, La. wanting to donate more than 100 prom dresses. Catherine Ford, of New to You, had them waiting for Chaffin to be picked up immediately. Chaffin eagerly retrieved the dresses and is awaiting the day they will be given away. 

 Buffy McPayne Hooper is a volunteer in Operation Prom Dress and has donated the use of her business to host the event. But, she didn’t stop there. She is also collecting the dresses and donations at her other business, Buffy Doiron Insurance 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., located at 7735 Twin City Highway in Port Arthur.  The prom dress giveaway will be on 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 23rd at 135 Blueberry in Bridge City at Queen of the Court. 

To assist as many girls as possible, there are still more donations needed before the giveaway. Additional dresses sizes 2 through 26 are needed and especially those in plus sizes. It is important the items come from smoke free environments. Chaffin is wanting to collect prom jewelry, shoes and all the accessories too. She is also hoping to collect door prizes such as gift certificates for spray tans, and so the girls can get their nails and hair done too. Finally, she would like to have donations of snack items for the girls to have while looking for their dresses at the event. 

Chaffin says the event is open to all girls in need of a dress in Southeast Texas. But, they will need a current student identification card. Dresses are limited to one per girl and are on a first come, first serve basis. 

Chaffin and her team of volunteers with the Operation Prom Dress Ministry are looking forward to their giveaway and putting smiles on the faces of those attending. For the event the team chooses to live by Galatians 5:13, “Serve one another in love.”