POOLER, GA (WTOC) - Hundreds of high schoolers will head to prom in style thanks to a small donation to the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire.
Saturday's sixth annual House of Prom dress sale offered the young women gently-used dresses for a $10 donation to the center.
"It's affordable, and not a lot of people could buy their dresses," said junior Julissa Rodriguez, who bought a dress for an upcoming military ball at her high school. "Some dresses are like $500, and it's convenient for us because, you know, it's just $10. It's not a lot of money."
She and her mom, Evelyn, arrived at the Tanger Outlets in Pooler at 6 a.m. to wait for the doors to open at 10 a.m. They decided to come early this year after waiting in a long line last year. While the dresses are a great deal, Evelyn said benefitting a great cause makes it even more worth it.
"It's for a good cause, you know, to help the women that are abused and stuff, so we don't mind spending the money when it's for a good cause," she said.
Hundreds of women wrapped around the building waiting to get inside to buy a dress Saturday morning. KISS FM sponsors the event and estimates 300 people attended. J.R., who does afternoon traffic for the radio station, says they received a record number of dress donations this year. He estimates about 400 donated dresses were up for sale.
Kesha Gibson-Carter, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center, said while it's a fun fundraiser, it's also a chance to teach young women about potential risks and smart decision making during prom season.
"We are continuously creating opportunities, events, as well as taking advantage of platforms to spread our message in a very unique way," Gibson-Carter said. "These girls think they're just coming out here to get a good deal on a prom dress, to find a good deal on a dress, but we have better dues for them. We have information related to prom safety tips, as well as prom safety tips for the parents."
Gibson-Carter said Saturday's sale was largest ever, and she hopes it continues to grow in the future.