Prom Gowns and the Glass Slipper Project 3

Zengeler Cleaners Makes Prom Dreams Come True

For the 13th year, Zengeler Cleaners helped to give Chicago-area high school girls the chance to go to prom, collecting a record number of nearly 5,000 prom dresses, plus shoes, jewelry, handbags and other accessories for the Glass Slipper Project, a local charity that gives prom gowns free to students who cannot otherwise afford them. Many of these beautiful gowns originally sold for hundreds of dollars and many Zengeler Cleaners customers purchase and donate brand new dresses, as well.

The donations collected by the 158-year old family-owned and operated cleaners increases each year, with this year’s donations valued at approximately $1.5 million.

“So many young women now have the special opportunity to enjoy their prom this year, thanks to those who made these generous donations,” says Tom Zengeler, president, Zengeler Cleaners. “The generosity of students donating their own dresses, as well as total strangers who purchased and donated brand new dresses is awe inspiring, and truly amazing.”

Zengeler Cleaners cleans, presses and makes minor repairs to the dresses, and then packs their vans for delivery to the distribution location—all services provided at no charge. The formal dresses and accessories are then distributed free to students at Glass Slipper “boutiques,” where each student receives individual assistance from a volunteer “personal shopper” to choose the prom attire of their dreams.

This year’s “boutique” shopping opportunities were held on two consecutive Saturdays during prom season at Price Elementary School in Chicago.

Since 1999, the project has helped nearly 30,000 high school women to find their perfect prom dress. In 13 years, Zengeler Cleaners has collected more than 34,000 dresses, the most of any collection point involved in the drive. In the last few months, students at area high schools, along with Zengeler customers and several other local businesses, dropped off dresses and accessories at each of eight Zengeler Cleaners stores. Some dresses are brand new, with tags still attached.

“We are proud that Zengeler Cleaners continues to help deserving students enjoy their prom each year,” says Ray Mullen, executive director, Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills (GLMV) Chamber of Commerce, of which Zengeler is a long-time member.

Plans for next year’s prom dress collections are already underway.