The process started last summer when a Gloucester County girl, Casey Kupcha was reading through a magazine, and found out about a prom dress project.

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The 16-year-old decided to start her own version of the project that focused on helping out military families. With that, Kupcha officially started Prom Dresses for Patriots this year. It is a charity that the public instantly got behind.

"The community support has been amazing. We've gotten so many dresses," she said.

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Kupcha comes from a military family with her father, Joe, having served 20 years as a navy pilot. The project centers on collecting formal dresses and accessories, which are then sold at a very discounted rate at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

"I've always been in touch with the military side I really wanted to help them out because we just have such a big community. I feel like people should just help out each other," she explained

Casey's mother, Linda, has also been instrumental with helping the process, as has Kupcha's school, Gloucester Catholic.

"They're always looking for ways to help out the community. So it was mainly Gloucester Catholic that gave me the idea to start something like this," she said.

So far, hundreds of dresses have been collected and sold, with all the proceeds going towards a scholarship program for kids on the base. Kupcha has spread the word rapidly with the help of social media and email.

"I plan to keep it going next year, and hopefully I can hand it over to somebody else at my school when I go to college," she says.


Go the Distance for Autism

Donations continue to pour in for the third annual Go the Distance for Autism Bike event.  So far over $750,000 has been raised for four non-profit schools that serve autistic children and adults in North Jersey.  The bike event is scheduled for May 6th at Bergen Community College in Paramus.  Click here for more information.

Noah's Ark Animal Welfare Association

Noah's Ark Animal Welfare Association in Ledgewood will hold their 2nd annual "Country Kit-Tea" benefit on May 6 at the Adam Todd in Andover.  All proceeds raised will be used to purchase necessary supplies and cover the cost of medical care for the cats and kittens currently housed at the shelter.  Established in 1966, the non-profit organization provides shelter and medical care for homeless pets.  Their goal is to find lifetime homes where the animals will be cared for and loved.  To learn more, click here.

Take a Step
Mercer County Park

Do you know someone affected by lymphoma?  Last year alone, nearly 2,500 people were diagnosed with the disease in New Jersey, and nearly half a million Americans are living with the disease.  In an effort to raise awareness and funds for research, the Lymphoma Research Foundation will hold its Ninth Annual Lymphomathon "Take a Step" 5k walk on May 6 at Mercer County Park.  Click here to learn more.