Batavia group accepting donations for annual Prom Dress Giveaway
If you organize a prom dress giveaway for high school girls and it becomes quite popular, you end up with an interesting problem at the end of the event. What do you do with hundreds of dresses left unclaimed?
Last year, the giveaway resulted in more than 200 dresses given to students from Batavia, Mooseheart, St. Charles, Geneva, Elgin, Aurora, Rosary, Jacobs, Naperville and Chicago.
So it meant quite a few were still available.
It's a good problem to have for Joanne Spitz, creator of the Community Helpers Impacting People in Need, or CHIP IN Batavia, as the organization prepares to host its fifth annual Prom Dress Giveaway from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Batavia Public Library.
"We save about 200 of the most up-to-date dresses for the next year and store them at the library," Spitz said. "And we donated about 300 to 400 last year after the event was over."
Those dresses end up at places like All Dressed Up, if they could work in a theater setting, or for the prom drive at My Daughter's Dress in Oswego. About 100 dresses go to Wayside Ministries in Aurora, and some special needs groups also get to look over and pick dresses.
The great response for dress donations really kicked into gear a couple of years ago when the prom giveaway event moved to the Batavia Public Library. There was far more room to store and display dresses and shoes, compared to the previous locations of Zano's and the Congregational Church.
"And I think the word has spread over the years," Spitz said. The event is promoted through the schools, TriCity Family Services and other organizations, Spitz added.
It's been a labor of love for the committee of Spitz, Ashley Murtaugh and Melinda Kintz as they organize, promote and operate the dress giveaway. A bunch of volunteers and library staffers Patricia Leonard, Kathy Moecher and director George Scheetz also help.
It's a massive community effort when considering that Prairie State Packaging donates the wardrobe boxes to store dresses, and Alice Gustafson School donates the large and small racks to display dresses. Lori St. Vincent created the poster touting the event.
"Dressing rooms are made with boxes, racks and sheets, so the girls have privacy," Spitz said.
Dress donations can be dropped off at the library checkout desk through March 15. Accessory donations such as purses, jewelry, hair accessories, shoes and unopened makeup are also welcome. Monetary donations are used to help pay for tuxedo rentals and prom tickets.
Darts by any name:
For just a minute, I thought the Game On Third restaurant and darts bar in St. Charles had been closed. Then I realized I was there before it opened at 11 a.m.
That was good news, considering the place underwent a name change more than a month ago, from The Grandstander to Game On Third.
I knew chef David Reyes was no longer involved in the site at 11 N. Third St., but partner Rob Mondi still is. He joined up with Reyes to convert the Abby's Breakfast and Lunch spot into The Grandstander.
We'll see what other changes might be in store in the near future, but, for now, Game On represents one of the few dart bars in the region.
They probably don't get as much fanfare as they deserve, but when a longtime member of our chambers of commerce retires, it is worth noting.
Geneva's chamber will undergo another change of faces, as membership and sponsorship director Judy Carroll has retired from the agency.
She was with the chamber 16 years, paving the way for Robyn Chione to take over as membership director.
This all happens not long after Jean Gaines stepped down as director last year after 40 years of service.
For the sculptors:
We all get to enjoy the interesting sculptures in Mount St. Mary Park during warmer days, but the time is now for the really important people to be thinking about this. They are the sculptors who create this public art.
Those interested in having a sculpture on display in the St. Charles Park District's 14th annual Sculpture in the Park exhibit have to turn in an application by Wednesday, Feb. 6. The application and other information are available at stcsculpture.org.
There's more incentive for sculptors this year, with an artist honorarium of $1,000 for accepted sculptures, also a $1,500 prize for one selected to be placed on display for a year at the Baker Community Center, and a $500 prize for a sculptor to be recognized by the park district at the Sculptor's Reception on June 14 at the park.