It's prom season, but with tight budgets at home, many families just can't afford the dress, shoes and other makings for a special night.
That's why members of Christ Community Church in Athens, Tenn., say helping a girl look beautiful for prom is part of their mission.
The church started collecting used dresses in August 2009 as part of its annual Prom Ministry.
"Last year, we started this Prom Ministry to meet the needs of local people," Christ Community Church member Kathy Quinn said. "We found out... there were people as far south as Birmingham, Dalton, Ga., and north of Knoxville who had the need."
So far this year, Christ Community has received nearly 400 dresses. Church members say their goal is 1,000.
"The children deserve a chance to have their time and their special moment, and I think any way we can help them is great," said Jennifer Raper of Heavenly Creations Florist.
Last year, about a dozen local businesses helped in the efforts at Prom Ministries. This year, even more have signed on.
"I think kids in this community really need to know that somebody's there to care, somebody's there to help," Meredith Carver of Cash Express said. "And with the economy in a mess the way it is, I think people need help."
Local restaurants are offering discounted meals on prom night, florists are giving deals on flowers and dry cleaners are offering free services for the donated gowns.
"It's a great cause to help those that may not be able to afford a proper gown or suit for their prom. And we're just always wanting to be involved in the community which we do business with," said Food Lion representative Jeffrey Allen.
Amanda Wooden with Magnolia Dry Cleaners added that prom should be a special memory to us all.
"We remember that special day and how important it was to us. So we just want to give that back," she said.
Thanks to this church's ministry, the prom will no doubt be a memorable time, especially for those who otherwise would not have been able to afford to go.