Fishtown: Donations of Prom Dresses for Girls in Need

Maryelis Santiago stands with a portion of the donate dresses she has received.

Maryelis Santiago recently realized that many young girls might not be able to afford prom attire due to financial shortcomings. Hoping that girls may get the dresses they deserve, Santiago has formed a prom dress drive, asking people to donate their gently used dresses for those in need to wear to prom this April.

“I am a product of my community,” Santiago said. “I understand the struggles people endure.”

Maryelis Santiago stood with a portion of the donated dresses she has received.

Thus far, she has received donations of more than 60 dresses, with 30 additional arriving the past weekend. She said she hopes girls, despite financial shortcomings, will enjoy one of the most important nights of their young lives.

“I recruited volunteers to donate dresses, and with the help of the Congresso network, I reached out to the community,” Santiago said.

She has worked closely with neighborhood organizations like Congresso, which has a vast network of willing recipients, while Voluntarios en Acción has arranged trained seamstresses to fix and fit the dresses for the young women.

“It’s amazing what she’s doing, she’s going to help a lot of young girls,” said Michael Martinez, an organizer of Voluntarios en Acción.

“My parents struggled financially when I was growing up, because we did not know what kind of assistance was available,” Santiago said, “But now I’m fortunate enough to be working with organizations that help get the word out to the community.”

Project Prom will be accepting donations through March 2 at the Congresso Headquarters at 216 West Somerset St. And on March 21, girls with school identification are invited to select a dress of their choice.

All inquiries should be made to Maryelis Santiago at 215-763-8870 ext. 1575.


  1. Do you know of a student who needs a prom dress? Project Prom can help, we have gathered dress donations from the community some new and others gently used and will be having a distribution event on Saturday May 4th from 9:00AM to 12:00PM at Congreso de Latinos Unidos [ 216 W Somerset Street]. Registration is required and can be done here:


    Thank you so much for your support 


    705 N. Franklin St, Philadelphia PA 19123
    216 W Somerset St, Philadelphia PA 19133
    152 W Lehigh Ave, Philadelphia PA 19133

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