Free prom dresses given away by Rochester Outreach and Charity for Kids

Sydney Bommersbach, writer


After paying for hair appointments, outfits, tickets and rides, the average teen in the Midwest spends approximately $610 on prom, according to the Yahoo Styles 2017 Prom Across America Survey. Trying to reduce that price, the Rochester Outreach and Charity for Kids (ROCKit) collects and gives away prom dresses, shoes and purses for no cost.

“This program is 100 percent free,” ROCKit board member Renee Perkins said. The venue is the Auburn Hills Community Center this year and it’s donated. The dry cleaning of all the dresses was donated by Lapels of Rochester Hills; they have dry cleaned thousands for us totally for free. The adults act as hostesses and help them with carrying dresses and running back and forth for different sizes. We have all volunteers that come in and want to help because they like the idea of the event.”

Donations were accepted at the Greater Rochester Community Foundation, Funky Frog Upscale Resale Shop, Classic Lanes and Kidz1st Pediatrics. Through this, ROCKit was able to collect 691 dresses. They gave away 63 dresses, with one going to senior Katie Gauer, who was the only Fenton student at the event.  

“I picked up on this event from the signs on the walls at school,” Gauer said. “There was a decent selection to choose from, and I ended up with spaghetti-strap ballgown style dress that I love.”



ROCKit’s event was held so early in the year, all leftover dresses were sent to Hope’s Closet for a following dress giveaway event on April 14 to April 21. This was ROCKits third year putting the event on, and the board reported making improvements each year such as changing the location and being more selective and collecting only long dresses versus short.

“Even though many people think that our ZIP code area is wealthy,” Perkins said, “there are still many people who have financial needs, and some girls are making choices to not attend because they can’t afford a ticket and a dress. They can’t do everything, so if they could save on the dress and accessories they would be able to afford something else. Other young ladies believe ‘why should I spend for one night, I’m more green than that, I’d rather recycle a dress,’ and that is what caused us to hold an event in our area.”

The prom is May 5, where Katie, as well as other juniors and seniors are about to show off their dresses and looks.