In the chaotic aftermath of the April 27 tornadoes, a group of women is working to give teenage victims something as normal as it gets - prom.
"It's just so sad," said Kim Massengale Goins, one of the group. "And [my daughter Paige] said, 'Mom, we have these dresses. Let's see if we can't donate them.'"
On Friday and Saturday, donors can drop off dresses at City Hall in Trenton, Ga., said the organizers of the effort, which is being called "Rescue Prom." Students from all area schools are welcome to drop by on those days, too, to be fitted for free dresses.
The organizers expected to collect about 50 dresses, said Crystal Cadieux, who met Goins while volunteering at the American Legion and built the group's Facebook page. So far, they have received promises of several hundred donations.
Kacey Brown's daughter, Ridgeland High School student Taylor York, had taken to Facebook to try to locate a friend's lost prom dress. And, it turned out, Taylor's friend wasn't alone. So mother and daughter began to coordinate donations, which will be transported Saturday to Trenton to join the dresses collected via Rescue Prom.
Brown said they have collected about 300 dresses so far.
"There's so much loss and destruction," said Cadieux. "Prom is a big thing for a teenager. [We want to allow] the seniors to come together and still do the traditional things. The cause is to keep stability amongst the destruction ... and to allow them to come together and experience their lifetime memories."
More than just dress donations are needed. Goins said they are also trying to collect formalwear for boys, though those efforts have been a bit more difficult, she said.
Trenton resident Tiffany Stone is helping to coordinate efforts to collect accessories, as well as to organize any hair and makeup artists willing to donate their time to help get girls ready for the big nights.
"Everybody deserves the prom," Goins said. "I have two daughters. Prom's a big thing for girls. We just want to give them a little bit of normalcy. That's what this whole team of women want to do."