PANAMA CITY -- Prom is a rite of passage for many American teenagers. But between the gown, the shoes, the accessories, the event comes with quite a pricetag.
This year many Bay County high school students who simply can't afford it are turning to Operation Cinderella.
The organization is working with all the Bay County high schools, asking the guidance counselors to recommend girls whose families can't afford a gown for the dance.
"Everybody should be able to go to prom, "said Tricia Ressler, the owner of Cute and Sassy on Thomas Drive. "There is not anyone who should miss their experience, their high school experience."
That's why Ressler and the ladies of Operation Cinderella are collecting gently used dresses for teens who wouldn't otherwise have one.
"There are a lot of girls who come in here and they turn around and walk out, because mom and dad in this economy can't afford a dress," Ressler said.
Ressler is collecting them at her store, in Mirabella Square off Thomas Drive on the beach. They already have a beautiful variety of gowns, but they're looking for dozens more.
"There are a lot of girls out there that need dresses," she said. "This is not near enough to cover everybody."
Operation Cinderella needs more dresses of all styles and shapes. You can drop off your gently used prom dresses at Cute and Sassy at 7328 Thomas Drive. Shoes, bags and jewelry are also needed.
Girls in need should talk to their high school guidance counselors.