Authored by Bridgett Archer, Church of the Redeemer, Mobile
I often receive texts or phone calls regarding the church. They are usually about maintenance, services, or someone in need. However, a few weeks ago I received a call that brought seven days of joy, laughter, community, and above all, prom dresses.
When my phone rang three weeks ago it was the social service’s director for the Mobile County Public School System looking for a place to host a prom dress giveaway; without hesitation, I volunteered Redeemer. The next week over a thousand dresses, plus shoes, suits, and tuxedos were unloaded from trucks and placed in the sanctuary. The dresses were organized on racks borrowed from Deacon Terry Goff’s (Trinity Episcopal) Project Homeless event and arranged by size around chairs by members of Scout Troop 251. Shoes were placed on the altar and empty classrooms and office space became dressing rooms.
For the next two weeks, high school children from around the area were able to come pick out prom attire. Church members Thomas Archer and January Taylor were on hand for alterations and the school system had vouchers for free hair, nails, and make-up appointments. On the second day, a local bridal shop (Bella Bridesmaids) donated an extra 400 dresses and a local lawyer brought in more suits and ties.
The best part was the number of volunteers that showed up to help. The social services department had volunteers on hand every night to assist, we also had volunteers from the NAACP, Springhill College, Troop 251, Trinity Episcopal, and Redeemer. It was wonderful to see the joy in the faces of the students, parents, and all involved.
This event started with a small ask and ended with a huge impact. Saying “yes” came with some risks and “what ifs” but they were taken care of easily. I encourage all of you to take some risks in your churches, say “yes” to your communities, and think outside your comfort zones. In total, we served approximately 200 children and welcomed 38 volunteers that were new to Redeemer. We were all blessed by them and we hope they continue to feel the blessing we bestowed upon them.