Mom Prom to raise money for Oswego dress nonprofit

By Erika Wurst For Chronicle Media

These young girls are among the many who have walked out of My Daughter’s Dress in Oswego with smiles and confidence after finding the right dress for a formal occasion. The nonprofit has grown rapidly since it launched in 2017.


The last time you attended (if you went in the first place), you were probably at or near 18 years old.

One could assume that, decades later, you have some hair, dress and jewelry regrets. Maybe your date turned out to be a jerk, maybe your parents embarrassed you during photo taking, or your heels broke on the dance floor. Well, ladies, it’s time to redeem yourselves.

Local non-profit, My Daughter’s Dress, is hosting a “Mom Prom”, which invites women over the age of 21 to don their favorite dress, get an up-do, and dance the night away on Saturday, April 27 at Bear Cave Lake in Oswego.

All proceeds from the event will go to My Daughter’s Dress, the brainchild organization of Oswego’s Mary Garcia, who began the non-profit in December 2017 in hopes of making prom, homecoming and other formal events affordable for everybody.

Out of her home, Garcia collects, cleans and presses donated formal dresses of all kinds. Then, she hosts events to give them away.

This past Homecoming season alone, more than 125 girls walked away with not only dresses, but the confidence and smiles to match them.

“I always cry,” Garcia said of watching the girls radiate happiness once they’ve found their perfect gown. “I think about what it means to them. And I see their moms and the looks on their faces when they see their daughters so happy. Also, knowing the mom didn’t have to spend a small fortune that she doesn’t have.”

While Garcia does ask for monetary donations in addition to dress donations, those funds have been slow rolling. About $90 has been raised since the non-profit started, and that’s been a tough pill to swallow for the Oswego mom who is paying out of pocket in order for others’ dreams to come true.

Through the “Mom Prom” event, which will feature dinner, dancing, photos and fun, Garcia is hoping to raise $15,000 which will allow her to find a space to lease and run her organization out of.

As things stand, dresses have taken over Garcia’s basement, and have filled her storage unit.

“I can only have one donation drop-off day a month, otherwise people would constantly bring donations to my door step,” she said.

A variety of lengths and styles of formal dresses fill one of the racks at My Daughter’s Dress, a local nonprofit run by an Oswego mother.

Instead of hosting four annual shopping events (two at homecoming and two at prom), Garcia’s dream is to have a shop that’s open daily for both donation drop-offs and browsing.

“The biggest complaint I get is that people can’t come and go. That they can only shop at a few events a year,” she lamented.

Since she doesn’t just giveaway prom and homecoming dresses (she also has wedding dresses, bridal party dresses, children’s formal dresses, etc.), having a shop would give everyone easy access to the attire they need throughout the year.

The community has stepped up in a big way to help Garcia reach her goal. The Mom Prom venue rental was donated, along with the evening’s photographer, DJ, and deeply discounted food costs.

“All of the people who sponsored me, that’s what’s going to make this event worth it,” Garcia said. “If we had to pay everyone out of the funds we make, it wouldn’t even be worth it to hold the event.”

Instead, the “Mom Prom” is expected to bring in thousands of dollars to help keep My Daughter’s Dress on course.

Only 250 tickets will be sold. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased in person from Garcia, over the phone, or by paying through Venmo.

Mom Prom event info

The event is Saturday, April 27 at Bear Cave Lake in Oswego.

Cost is $50 if paying cash or Venmo or $54 if paying credit or debit card over the phone or in person. Contact Garcia at 331-431-2227 or email her at

Beer will be served along with soft drinks and water, but prom-goers can bring their own beverages, including alcohol.

There will also be several raffle basket items up for grabs, and with your ticket you will also be automatically entered into a raffle to win a door prize.

If you are paying through Venmo, make sure to include your full name, address where to send their ticket, and the number of tickets you are purchasing.


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