The Princess Project: Prom dress giveaway

Posted at 12:08 PM, Apr 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-09 17:29:18-04

A prom dress giveaway is underway in City Heights Saturday, with thousands of prom dresses - including designer labels - up for grabs.   

The nonprofit group, The Princess Project, is offering dresses to high school girls who cannot afford them. 

In order to get a dress, teens must book an appointment on the group’s website:, The teens must be enrolled in high school and present a valid ID card.

“There are so many different dresses!” said volunteer Karen Martin, who walked through rows of satin, taffeta, and sequined gowns. The dresses are housed in a large room located at 43rd Street and University, in a space donated by the Price Charity.

The dresses are arranged by color and size. Jennifer Gaston, Chair of The Princess Project San Diego, held up a Tony Bowls gown worth $500. But according to Gaston, the real worth may be priceless. 

"By making a girl feel beautiful, you truly boost their self-esteem,” she explained. “Our underlying message is that we really promote self-confidence and inner beauty,” said Gaston.

Dress events can get emotional. Martin remembers one girl in particular who told her, “In my life I’ve worn many clothes. They've all looked nice on me [but] I’ve never once had a dress like this on.”   

When Martin goes through the dresses on the racks, she often envisions the girls who will be wearing them, and gives them a silent blessing. “I'm making wishes for the young princesses who are going to have them on, just to have amazing lives,” she said.

The Princess Project will also be giving away dresses at libraries in Chula Vista, El Cajon and Vista. For dates and information go to their website: