Kearns Teams Up for 'Gowns for Prom' Drive

Modified: March 8, 2018 4:27pm

March 6, 2018

Gowns for Prom


2018 Colvin Cleaners Gowns for Prom Expands Donation Sites

Clerk Kearns puts donation bins at Erie County Auto Bureaus


Kenmore, NY (March 6, 2018)—The 13th annual Colvin Cleaners Gowns for Prom program, presented by the Allstate Foundation and supported by KISS 98.5 with Janet Snyder, has greatly expanded its donation sites due to an early call from high school students in need of a gown for this year’s prom.

Gowns for Prom is seeking donations of new or gently used formal gowns, shoes and purses of any size.  There is a big need for plus sized gowns, sizes 16 and up.  

The Allstate Foundation, the presenting sponsor of Coats for Kids and Gowns for Prom, announces this morning it is collecting new or slightly used gowns, shoes and purses at 40 Allstate Insurances Agencies throughout Western New York.  The barrels will be in each location year round and residents can also donate winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves anytime.

Colvin Cleaners, an 87 years young family business in Kenmore, has partnered with The VSP Graphics Group to design and wrap several hundred barrels for collection year round.

In addition, Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns, a strong supporter of the donation programs at Colvin Cleaners from his days as a Buffalo city council member and continuing when he was a New York State Assembly member, announces this morning the barrels will also be located inside six Department of Motor Vehicle offices throughout the county.

Barrels for the year round collection of gowns, coats and accessories will also be located at Colvin Cleaners, the Reeds Jenss locations and Native Price Truck Plaza and Restaurant in Irving.  For a complete listing of all donation sites and a map, visit or

The donated gowns are sorted by size and transported to Shea’s Performing Arts Center for selection on April 9, 10 and 11 from 3-8:00 p.m.  For each of the three days, Colvin Cleaners will have racks of thousands of new and donated gowns arranged on stage by size.  The high school students select a gown and then are fitted upstairs in the stars’ dressing rooms by professional seamstresses.  The gown is then altered, dry cleaned, packaged and delivered for free by Colvin Cleaners to the young ladies’ school in time for the prom.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Shea’s, a world-class historic theatre donating its stage and three floors of dressing rooms for three consecutive nights for 13 straight years,” says Paul A. Billoni, President CEO of Colvin Cleaners. “Working with Tony Conti and now, Michael Murphy and their outstanding staff at Shea’s has been exceptional.  The opportunity they are giving these young ladies to experience what is like to be a star just adds to the luster of Gowns for Prom.”

Gowns for Prom is open to young ladies in area high schools who are unable to afford a prom gown. These young ladies are encouraged to visit the website, and click Get A Gown and schedule a time to select their gown.  Schools are encouraged to bring students together, possibly in a bus, so they are together selecting gowns and avoiding similar colors and styles.

“What brings tears to my wife and I every year is the sight of a young lady who has found that perfect gown and then to see them after it has been professionally altered by one of the many seamstresses who donate their time to Gowns for Prom every year,” says “We are so grateful for everyone who has donated gowns over the years because the smiles on the faces of thousands of high school students, who otherwise could not have afforded a prom gown, is priceless.”

Clerk Kearns announces bins at Auto Bureaus for 'Gowns For Prom'


County Clerk Kearns says, “My goal as Erie County Clerk is to make our auto bureaus more community oriented, and to offer services other than the standard DMV transactions. I’m happy to help Colvin Cleaners with its Gowns for Prom Program by setting up donation centers at six Erie County Auto Bureaus. As a dad whose daughter recently went to her high school prom, I understand the excitement of being able to find the perfect dress for the occasion. I also understand the significant cost of prom season and the stress that puts on families.”

Volunteers, aged 18 and over, unless accompanied by a parent, are needed at Shea’s in the distribution and restocking of gowns and monitoring of the dressing rooms.  Seamstresses and tailors to assist at Shea’s with alterations of the gowns, are also needed. For more information, or if you know of a young lady in need of a prom gown, visit  Gowns for Prom is a 501c3 under the Goodwill Industries of Western New York.