It has now been a decade since two high school students launched a donation drive for prom attire, for Monmouth County-area teens who might not otherwise be able to afford those clothes.

prom couple corsage
Susan Prentice, ThinkStock

Their brainchild, Cinderella's Closet, is getting set to hold its annual Fashion Showcase, the organization's biggest yearly fundraiser, on Jan. 27 at Addison Park in Keyport.

The group's Mary Pat Serhus said for the 10th anniversary they wanted to expand to a bigger venue for the flagship event, reflecting an outreach that now extends beyond Monmouth County to urban centers like Newark, Trenton, and Paterson, as well as Ocean and other counties.

Serhus said kids who are not in Cinderella's Closet's primary coverage area can still avail themselves of the charity's services.

"They have the ability to contact us directly through their guidance counselors, and if they have a need, we get in touch with them through outreach and we make sure that we can help them," she said.

Tickets to the Showcase will cost a bit more this year, at $50 a head, but that includes dinner, entertainment and the opportunity to participate in raffles. Everyone in attendance will soon turn their focus to the Prom Boutique, which follows on March 25 and routinely involves more than 300 high schoolers.

"The more people who attend and help support our organization, the better Prom Boutique that we can do," Serhus said.

Not only does Cinderella's Closet accept prom dress donations, but volunteers are also routinely on the lookout for shirts, tuxedos, and suits.

And as Serhus puts it, the group was started by teenagers, and so peers of those who receive these materials are always welcome as volunteers, attendees, or even donors themselves.

"We want to make sure that self-esteem is a big factor. We want to make sure that they feel wonderful when they leave," she said.

For information on how to get involved, visit

See how Cinderella's Closet has evolved in our coverage from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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