A former Howell resident has Facebook to thank for her out-of-the-box fundraiser to benefit families affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Maureen Spataro, a Freehold mom who recently moved to Howell, was casually checking her Facebook when a friend from Brooklyn messaged her. The message asked Spataro to send any old dresses, specifically prom dresses, to her alma mater high school. The dresses would be available for students affected by Hurricane Sandy to shop through and would help offset the high prices of prom attire.
“I know how big of a deal prom is for high school students,” said Spataro. “When my daughter went to prom two years ago I was amazed at how expensive things were and that was before Hurricane Sandy. If families were struggling with the financial burden of prom before the storm, I’m sure many more families will not be able to financially take on the burden of prom this year”
In order to help all students wanting a full prom experience, Spataro decided to start a local fundraiser like the one in Brooklyn.
“Some people may think that this is a frivolous idea, but really it is another way to bring help and normalcy back to people who have lost so much,” explained Spataro.
This is the first fundraiser Spataro has ever organized. So far, she has primarily used Facebook to get the word out.
“It has been two weeks since I sent out a message like the one I received from my friend in Brookyln. Since that message, my Facebook has been exploding with people wanting to help. One woman event sent me a check to use for the fundraiser,” said Spataro.
Due to the success of her Facebook post, Spataro has decided to personally collect all of the local dresses next week. At this time, she is planning on storing them in her daughter’s room while she is away at school.
“I would love to set up a space for the dresses and even organize them so that students can come and shop for their prom dress,” said Spataro. “But I am just a mom, I don’t have many connections.”
Once Spataro can find a place to display the dresses, she also wants to collect other donated items that help complete the prom experience.
“There are so many things people can donate. If possible, I would even like to further extend the collection for suits, tuxedos and accessories. It would also be great if local companies could donate flowers, photographers, or even limos to help these families out even more.”
A group of women, described by Spataro as ‘fabulous and having large hearts’, have already reached out wanting to help organize the event and take donations. All dresses will be accepted for this fundraiser as long as they have been dry-cleaned and have no tears.
To donate items for the prom fundraiser Spataro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.