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The Paperbag Princess

Girls grouped together in dresses


Published April 27, 2010
Northfield News

Eight Northfield teens transformed into real-life Cinderellas want to give back to the organization that helped outfit them for prom.

By collecting gently-used formal wear, the girls will help others who otherwise might not be able to attend their school’s dance.

It was just last month when the girls and the Northfield High School’s AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Mary Kleingarn headed to St. Paul’s The Paperbag Princess in search of the perfect prom dress.

“Luckily,” said Kleingarn said, Princess’s Barb Bloom made their job easy.

Since 2006, The Paperbag Princess has outfitted hundreds of Minnesota students in gently used suits and dresses for prom, collecting donated dresses for students who otherwise might not be able to afford them.

Once there, said Kleingarn, Bloom led them to a room full of dresses, in almost any size or color.

The challenge followed as each girl headed tried on her selection of dresses. Smiles and laughter filled the room as students modeled the dresses for each other. After the dresses were chosen, Bloom helped students pick matching jewelry, shawls and shoes to complete their outfits. By the end of the trip, the girls were fully outfitted from head to toe and couldn’t have been more excited, said Kleingarn.

While shopping for a prom dress may seem like a common experience for a typical high school girl, many of these NHS students would not have been able to attend prom this year without the help from The Paperbag Princess, said the promise fellow.

“One student in particular contacted me several weeks before the trip, asking about affordable prom dresses,” said Kleingarn. “ Last year, she was unable to attend because she couldn’t afford all the expenses of prom. This year, she found the perfect blue dress, with earrings and a necklace to match and (was) able to participate in the … the prom.”

Students are collecting dresses through Friday to be donated to The Paperbag Princess, though Kleingarn said she she would continue to take them through early next week.

“The opportunity meant so much to them,” said Kleingarn, “and they hope the organization will be able to serve other Minnesota students for years to come.”

To donate a gently used prom dress, contact Kleingarn at 663-0608 or mary.kleingarn@nfld.k12.mn.us

Need a dress? Want to volunteer your time? For more information visit paperbagprincess.org or call (952) 200-5422.

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