County Library Collecting Prom Dresses for Free Giveaways

Help make dreams come true for teenage girls who need a dress for the prom. The San Diego County Library is collecting gently worn formal dresses so these teens can go to the dance in style.

For teen girls, half the fun of going to the prom is picking out the dress. But that can be challenging when the budget isn’t quite there. That’s why the County Library is joining forces again with the non-profit organization The Princess Project to collect prom dresses.

In past years, the County Library has collected hundreds of dresses at the El Cajon and Vista branches.  This year, all 33 library branches will be taking in gowns. The branches will take donations until April 20.

The dresses must be dry-cleaned, no more than five years old and come on a hanger. The apparel can be any style, size and length but must be stylish and appropriate for young women. Accessories like jewelry are welcome, too. Shoes, however, aren’t being accepted. The Library hopes to collect enough dresses so each girl can have her choice of at least two or three gowns.

The clothing and accessories will be taken to the El Cajon and Vista branches for the giveaway events and that’s when the fun really begins. Last year, more than 200 teens attended the gown giveaway at the two branches.

The girls will get to pick and choose from racks of formal gowns for just the right one. Impromptu dressing rooms will allow them to try on as many as they wish, and full- length mirrors will be set up so they can twirl in front of them and see how they look.

“It’s so fun to see their eyes light up when they see their dress,” said Vista Youth Services Librarian Jennifer Runge.

Any teen who needs a prom dress is invited to attend no matter which school they attend or even which county they live in.

The County Library has worked with the Princess Project since 2011 and has given away hundreds of prom dresses.

To sign up for the giveaway events, teens can call and register at the El Cajon or Vista library branches or go online at the Princess Project.

The giveaway events take place on:

  • Saturday, April 21
    • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Vista Library Branch
    • 700 Eucalyptus Ave.
    • Vista, CA 92084
    • (760) 643-5100
  • Saturday, April 28
    • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    • El Cajon Library Branch
    • 201 E. Douglas
    • El Cajon, CA 92020
    • (619) 588-3718











Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact