MooreKids co-founder Maura Rafferty believes every child should have the chance to go to prom.
Last year, MooreKids hastily put together a prom collection drive—dubbed "Operation Prom"—so it could provide tickets and dresses to Moorestown High School students who couldn't otherwise afford them. At the time, Rafferty only knew of five students in need, three of whom they funded.
"We're pretty sure there's probably more than five kids who can't go to prom," she said recently.
So this year, "Operation Prom" is a little more organized. Rafferty, president of MooreKids, said she's already collected about 20 dresses—all in one night, the result of a mass email—and is looking for monetary donations to buy prom tickets ($75 apiece last year), as well as working with local businesses to get donated tuxes, dry cleaning, salon services and more.
Going to prom is an experience, Rafferty explained, and students shouldn't have to miss out on it just because they can't afford it.
"We want these kids to feel good about themselves and go and have fun," she said. "We want them to go and have a good time with their friends ... They're part of the class—go be part of the class."
Rafferty said the hope is that MooreKids will get enough dresses of various sizes and styles so they can give girls a choice, as well as create a "prom gown clothing closet" for future prom attendees. The girls who participate in the program will be allowed to keep the dresses, she said.
MooreKids works in conjunction with the school district through the high school guidance office, principal and various class advisors to identify students in need. Names are not provided however, to preserve the students' privacy, Rafferty stressed.
But even though they don't know who the students are, it's satisfying just knowing they're giving them an experience they'll never forget.
"Now a kid who gets asked and who might not feel like they can say 'Yes,' can say 'Yes,'" Rafferty said.
Items donated to Operation Prom can be dropped off at the nurse's office at Moorestown High School. Monetary donations can be made via the MooreKids' website or mailed to MooreKids, PO Box 756, Moorestown NJ 08057.
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