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Two Capital Students Are Bringing Free Prom Dresses To Columbus’ Young Women

Did you know that on average, teens in the Midwest spend $610 on their dresses for Prom?


If that seems like an unaffordable number to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Dropping that much dough on a dress isn’t just frustrating, it’s impossible for some families. That’s why projects like the one Jessica Kitchel and Kelly Haight doing are so important.

Both are juniors at Capital University, majoring in Public Relations (among other things). They are currently working on their Capstone project, an elective research project, and have chosen to do something with social outreach. Kitchel’s mother started a charity in her hometown near Dayton, OH, and she knew that pairing up with Kelly and bringing it to Columbus was what she wanted to do.

Capstones are usually solo projects, but once they explained their idea to their professor, Dr. Lois Foreman-Wernet, she wanted them to run with it.

“She’s been supportive. Normally you would do this on your own, but we knew we couldn’t do it on our own. She was like, ‘absolutely, I think it’s a great idea,’ so we’ve been working with her through this whole process,” said Kitchel.

Once they had the go-ahead, they got down to business: How could they combine Kitchel’s resources and Haight’s Columbus connections to help young women get their hands on prom dresses without spending a dime?

Capital Juniors Kelly Haight (left) and Jessica Kitchel (right).

Tinkerbell’s Closet, an offshoot of Germantown United Methodist Church, got its start in 2012. The concept is simple: The program collects donations of gently used formal wear, footwear, and accessories. Then young women who want to pick out a dress for prom, homecoming, etc, can make an appointment to come in and find the dress they’ve been dreaming of, all for no cost.

Since then, over 8,000 dresses have found their way into the hands of young women from all around Ohio. The duo set up collection stations around Columbus and the surrounding suburbs, including Bexley and Haight’s hometown of Hilliard.

Now that they have the goods, they’re ready to hand them out. Tinkerbell’s Closet will host it’s first Columbus event thanks to Kitchel and Haight and will be open to girls, lifting them up and helping them feel beautiful. And for these women, that’s what this project was always about.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing them and the look on their faces, saying ‘I love this and I can afford this,” said Haight.

The Tinkerbell’s Closet event will take place on March 27 at Capital University. For more information or to schedule your appointment, please to @tinkerbellsclosetgermantown on Facebook.

If you’re unable to make it to the event on Tuesday, the store in Germantown, OH has open hours on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is located at 20 Wetz Ln, Germantown, OH 45327.

Here’s an opportunity to grab the perfect dress without breaking the bank. Go ahead, you deserve it.