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Prom without a price … Local officers hosting dress giveaway

LAPLACE — Believing financial status should not be a barrier to a magical prom night, the new River Parishes Chapter of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association is hosting a prom dress giveaway for all in need.

Prom dresses of varying sizes, colors and styles will be available from noon to 4 p.m. April 6 in the New Wine Multi-Purpose Room, located at 1929 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace.

No registration or identification is required, according to Lieutenant Michelle Piearson, who said the inaugural giveaway welcomes teenage girls from St. John the Baptist Parish and beyond.

More than 50 prom dresses have been donated in a joint effort between 19 members of the River Parishes chapter, family, friends and community supporters.

Each dress is being cleaned prior to the giveaway, which Piearson said would mark the first of many community outreach events.

“We felt as though sometimes girls want to be able to attend prom but they can’t, due to not having a dress or financial issues with their parents,” Piearson said.

“This gives girls the opportunity to go to the prom without the hassle of trying to find money to get a dress. We want people to come out and enjoy the atmosphere, and hopefully we can put a smile on at least one young lady’s face.”

Lieutenant Anthony Giovingo, president of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association River Parishes chapter, said dressing rooms and complimentary refreshments will be available to attendees.

He sees the prom dress giveaway as a step for law enforcement to build new, more personal relationships within the community.

Each dress is being cleaned prior to the giveaway.

“It gets law enforcement out into the communities and gives people an opportunity to see a different side of law enforcement,” Giovingo said. “People normally see (law enforcement) in a work capacity or on patrol, but now they can see us helping out. Community relations are big in law enforcement right now. I feel we need more of it so people will trust us and feel more comfortable with law enforcement.”

Comprised of officers from St. John, St. Charles and St. James parishes, the non-profit River Parishes Chapter of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association formed in 2018 to complement 13 pre-existing chapters across Louisiana.

The chapter meets monthly at various River Region businesses, and Piearson said the group is looking to expand membership.

According to Piearson, Magnolia State Peace Officers Association, formed in 1956, provides support for law enforcement in Louisiana through educational conferences, networking and community service.

“I love helping the community and giving back whenever I can,” Piearson said. “With the type of job I have, I come into contact with a lot of kids that are in need. I wish I could help all of them, but I know I can’t. I try to reach out to as many as I can.”

The River Parishes chapter hopes to expand service with a back-to-school backpack giveaway this summer. Giovingo said members are constantly coming up with new ideas, and there are already plans to expand the prom giveaway in future years to include boys’ suits and haircuts.

Additional holiday giveaways are in the works, Giovingo said.

For more information on the Prom Dress Giveaway, call Giovingo at 985-215-7737 or Piearson at 504-233-4008. Any officer in St. John, St. James or St. Charles interested in joining the River Parishes Chapter can email
magnolia.riverparishes@gmail.com.