Organization that gives teens in need prom dresses, gets helping hand

- Whitney Drake has been helping others for years, surprising teens with free prom dresses who otherwise couldn't afford them. This week, she was the one getting a helping hand.

She founded Hope Closet, an organization that for 15 years has helped teens have the prom of their dreams. Comerica Bank surprised Drake with a $5,000 check to support her organization.

"This is amazing, I'm almost speechless which is quite a feat for me," Drake said. "This will ensure that we have dresses for all sizes and we can do it for another 15 years."

Since its formation in 2003, Hope Closet hosts a prom boutique for one week every year. This year's boutique is in just two weeks.

"We have the entire church bottom at Royal Oak First United Methodist that we turn into a boutique," Drake said. "And then it will help us with overhead costs, but mostly importantly it will help us with dresses."

The second annual Comerica Prom Dress Drive donated hundreds of dresses Monday and dozens of purses and accessories to make any young woman's prom perfect. It provides personal shoppers for every teen in need.

"They pick out the dress and then they get one accessory," Drake said. "(Like) a shawl, jewelry, purse or shoes."

So far roughly 250 Hope Closet volunteers has helped more than 4,000 young women.

"It is home-schooled or in the school in southeast Michigan," she said. "We've helped girls as far as Grand Rapids, in other years. The only requirement is that you need it."

Drake encourages anyone who would like to donate their time or their dresses and accessories, to reach out. 

Drake described the transformation of every young lady in need, as humbling and inspirational, thanking everyone who is making this possible.

"It's extremely rewarding and I am blessed to be able to participate," she said. "We have a great community and Detroit is amazing."

You can learn more about Hope Closet here

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