About 40 young women, looking forward to their first prom, got the opportunity Wednesday in New Rochelle to choose a free prom gown.
"We have a few hundred dresses," said Operation PROM Founder Noel D'Allacco. "They are free to students who are in financial need and are passing all their classes."
Rack after rack of dresses, many still with the price tags still on them, lined a room in the Sweeny Student Center on the College of New Rochelle campus. They were sorted by size.
D'Allacco and other volunteers helped the young women sort through the dresses, depending on what they were looking for.
There were also accessories such as shoes and jewelry from which to choose.
About 80 teens went to the Westchester County Center Tuesday to pick prom attire, and there will be opportunities Thursday and Friday at the Yonkers Riverfront Library.
D'Allacco said the young women were asked to register for the program, but a few showed up at the college with proof of grades and were allowed to pick a dress.
Briana Allen, 17, of Mount Vernon came to Operation PROM with Jada Smith, also 17 and from Mount Vernon.
Allen proudly showed off her choice: a black mermaid-style dress.
She said she had seen one on the Internet that had gold details for $400, but she was thrilled to be getting the dress she held for nothing.
"I am really happy," Allen said. "I was wondering how my budget would be able to afford $400, but this dress is free, and we get to try them on," something that she would not have been able to do online.
D'Allacco said young men who needed tuxedos weren't left out.
"We have a program for guys," she said. "We have a rental partnership with Men's Warehouse."
The difference is they are limited to only two young men per high school.
Operation PROM helps teens from low-income households and those who live in shelters or group homes attend their prom at little to no cost. The program is co-sponsored by the Westchester County Department of Social Services.