UPDATE: More than 100 high school students showed up at the 'Say Yes to the Prom Dress' event in Dunlap last Saturday.
"An hour before the doors even opened, there was a line of girls waiting. That was just unreal," said organizer Danielle Lee.
This was Lee's second year to organize the free prom dress giveaway.
She understands that prom is a big night for high school students but many families can not afford the expense.
"It made me very happy to see those girls and get to experience that with them but most of all, it was free. Nowadays, everything is so expensive and it cost absolutely nothing to be a kind person," Lee told Local 3 News.
Many of the girls also left with free jewelry, shoes and handbags too. All of the items were donated by community members.
If you didn't make it to the event and need a dress, you can still get one.
More than 150 dresses are still available in all shapes, sizes and colors.
Call The Dunlap Mercantile at 423-949-2552 during business hours to schedule a time to see the dresses.
PREVIOUS STORY: A unique effort is underway in Dunlap to help local teenage girls get ready for the biggest party of the school year.
Prom is a big night for high school students but it comes at a big cost.
Some families can afford the glitzy gowns but many cannot.
Dunlap mom Danielle Lee is working to ease the expense.
For the second year in a row she’s organizing “Say Yes to the Prom Dress" and providing an opportunity for local high school girls in need to get a dress for free.
"With all the stress and worry in the world, if you can take that from a young lady and say ‘we've got it’ you know, don't worry about it," Lee told Local 3 News.
Don’t let the expense of a prom dress keep you from making memories. These moms are helping high school girls find the perfect dress FREE of charge. The ‘Say Yes to the Prom Dress’ event is Saturday March 25 from 10-5 at 140 Cherry St. E in Dunlap. #MakingaDifference @Local3News pic.twitter.com/4nYhcdb4ka— Lori Mitchell (@LoriLocal3) February 28, 2023
Last year, more than two hundred teens walked away from the event with a free dress.
This year, she has collected around 300 gently used prom dresses to give away to students.
More donations are needed, everything from extra small to plus size.
Lee encourages ladies who have formals they’re not wearing to consider donating them.
“You want to have a dress or outfit for a certain occasion and it hangs in your closet. You never wear it again so definitely pay it forward and let another young lady feel as beautiful as you did,” said Lee.
When teens come to pick up their prom dress at ‘Dolce in Dunlap’ they'll have a personal shopping experience.
Volunteers will help each girl select the best dress for them and they'll go home with goody bags.
There's also a large selection of purses, shoes and jewelry to complete each outfit that will be given away for free.
"It's very rewarding for me. I always like to help people any chance I can because I had my fair share of help growing up and just to take that stress from the young ladies is very rewarding,” said Lee.
'Say Yes to the Prom Dress' is Saturday, March 25th from 10:00am CST until 5:00pm CST at 140 Cherry Street East in Dunlap, Tennessee.
Last year, a line formed before the doors opened so people are encouraged to get there early.
Anyone who would like to donate a dress can do so at the drop off locations.
They include: The Pink Peddler in Jasper, Reflections Hair Salon in Pikeville, The Red Bird Manor in Pikeville, The Dunlap Mercantile in Dunlap, Maples Automotive in Signal Mountain and Lorraine Denise Brillante Jeweler.
For additional information, visit the group's Facebook Page.