Mat-Su business owners work to make prom affordable for every student

Published: Mar. 22, 2019 at 6:33 PM AKDT
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Business owners in Palmer and Wasilla are working to make prom affordable for every student. Midnight Sun Tanning in Palmer is helping to make prom affordable for everyone by starting its first annual prom dress drive, while the Beaded Moose in Wasilla is selling dresses at deep discounts, with proceeds going toward a good cause.

Amber Doyle, owner of Midnight Sun Tanning, decided to give back to her community after de-cluttering her closet inspired the idea for a prom dress drive. Doyle, who is hosting the drive from her business in Palmer, says people have donated dresses, shoes, accessories and even make-up.

"It's a big memory," Doyle said. "It's a huge memory in a teenager's life, and we just want to be able to do that especially locally, and in our community and give them the opportunity to have that memory, and maybe relieve a little bit of stress off mom and dad."

To say thank you to her donors, she is giving free tans and discounts for anyone who makes a donation so they get something back for giving. The shop owner, who has a 16-year-old daughter herself, says she wants to make it so that other kids have a chance to go to prom who wouldn't normally be able to.

"I have a 16-year-old, and I know the cost that goes into prom," Doyle said. "It's also been kind of a rough year for everyone with the earthquake and everything else, so these are all just straight donations to give out to some of the girls in the valley that might not financially be able to go if we didn't do things like this."

Another valley business, The Beaded Moose, is also aiming to help prom-goers by offering donated prom dresses for $10 dollars with all the proceeds going toward "Project Sandwich" startup costs.

Beaded Moose owner Kimberly Emmi and her daughter Madeline say they realized there was a large population of kids in transition in the valley they came up with idea to start a chapter of Project Sandwich, even privately funding the original chapter at Wasilla High School.

Each week the nurse provides a number of students who have requested a sack lunch to help supplement meals over the weekend, when free breakfast and lunch are not available via the district's free lunch program. Members of the Wasilla High student government then put the sack lunches together which are given discreetly to students in need.

Because of the dress sale, the Emmi's have been able to fund the start up costs for Project Sandwich in multiple schools. The Beaded Moose is still accepting dress donations, and any dresses that aren't purchased this year will be boxed up and used for next year's sale.

If you're interested in donating or know someone who could benefit from this drive, Midnight Sun Tanning is in Palmer is off Trunk Road and East Palmer-Wasilla Highway. The drive will go on through out this weekend.