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‘It’s just happy here’

Palmyra High junior's boutiques offer free dresses to area girls

By Kathy Chang/The Sun
Maeve O’Connell started collecting dresses for donation last year with the help of her peers, her mom and her grandmother.

As prom season gets closer, Palmyra High School junior Maeve O’Connell is giving back to her community dress by dress.

She held two Maeve’s Boutique events in February at the Palmyra Venue, a wedding hall donated for her purpose. Girls looking for dresses shopped and tried on a variety of free colorful garments on display. They were also able to shop for donated jewelry.

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“I know a lot of my friends sell their dresses,” O’Connell said recalling how the idea of the prom dress giveaway came about. “I thought, what a cool idea if we gave the dresses away for free.”

She started collecting the dresses last year with the help of her peers; her mom Jenn; and her grandmother, Debbie Streeper.

“My mom was a very big help in all of this; she started posting a lot (on social media) and putting the word out there,” O’Connell recalled, adding that all the collected dresses – from all over – were stored in her grandmother’s home.

O’Connell and her friends tried the dresses on for a video her mom posted on social media before the boutique events. Prior to the first one, O’Connell said, it was a little stressful thinking about “What if nobody shows up?

“Now that it’s happening,” she noted. It’s a fun and exciting feeling … “It’s just happy here.”

Twenty-seven free gowns were given away during the first boutique. At the second, girls from New Jersey and Philadelphia schools walked out with 100 gowns and dresses.

O’Connell will hold her third and final event of the season on Sunday, April 14. Doors will open at the Palmyra Venue, 519 Garfield Ave., at noon.


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