Cleaner gives away 4,000 prom dresses

April 8, 2010 4:45:16 AM PDT
It's a dream come true for many high school girls -- the perfect prom dress.

Zengeler Cleaners in Northbrook is making sure thousands of girls get the dresses of their dreams. They have collected prom dresses from customers, service organizations and local high schools and they are giving them away free to young women who can't afford to buy their own. It's something Zengeler's has been doing now for seven years.

"Seven years ago we collected just under eight hundred. Right now, this year, we've collected over four thousand and the dresses continue to come in," said Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners.

The dresses are headed to a South Side school where they will be distributed to needy girls. It's all part of the Glass Slipper Project, which makes it possible for the underprivileged to feel privileged. Some of the dresses are brand new -- but if they aren't, they will be made to look as good as new.

More than 4,000 dresses have been collected. But they're not just handed out, they're cleaned up and repaired. All that adds up to more than $80,000.

"It's a great cause. We love supporting the Glass Slipper Project," said Zengeler.

Many of the dresses are worth well over $500. And the vast majority were worn only once. Throw in all the donated shoes and other accessories and these prom-dreams-come-true pictures have a price tag of over a $1 million.

"I hope the girls cherish the dress that they selected and that they hang onto it and cherish it either forever or maybe give it to a friend next year," said Zengeler.

Chicago area high school girls can pick out the prom dresses at Abbott School, 3630 S. Wells on Saturdays, April 17 and 24, and May 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The school is located behind U.S. Cellular Field. Girls must present a valid school identification card.