According to data from money.com, the average amount a family spends for a prom is $1139. That can be a real hardship for families.
Betty Vitale-Neal, the creator of Tammi’s Closet, is here to help. Named for Betty’s daughter who died in a tragic accident, Tammi’s Closet provides free dresses, shoes and accessories so girls can have the opportunity to go to their prom.
Betty’s Story: I remember March 4, 1996 too well. It was two days after Tammi got engaged. We talked almost every day, and always on Sundays. Our last conversation was about Easter (my birthday that year), and how she really wanted to go to New York to buy her wedding dress. Before we hung up, she said. “I love you, Mom. Please tell Dad and Ralphie I love them.” I said that I would and ended the call saying, “I love you, Tammi.” Less than 24 hours later, she was gone.
Ten years passed. I heard that girls at East Patton High School were in need of prom dresses. I decided to let go of Tammi’s dress and cried all the way home. The school called shortly afterward to tell me that someone had already chosen Tammi’s dress.
Years passed and my heart was still half empty. Maybe it was for selfish reasons, but I wanted to do something to keep her name alive. My friend Rosey and I had been talking about how difficult it can be for girls to afford prom dresses, and it became my mission to find dresses and to help those girls. I knew right away that it should be called “Tammi’s Closet.”
Soon, a lot of people knew her name – people in Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Argentina and Brazil. Our store has been featured in a video from 60second docs, GMA, Steve Harvey, Woman’s World Magazine, as well as Chat, a magazine in the UK. I was nominated for the Unsung Heroine Award. Now everyone knows Tammi’s name!
I love seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces when they find THE DRESS! Parents are so grateful. Every girl should be able to go to her prom. You can have two weddings, but only one prom.
My biggest challenge is finding a place each year for Tammi’s Closet and wondering, “How much is the rent going to be?” The 2020 prom season, CNA Stores is more then happy to provide space at no cost.
Tammi’s Closet is entirely dependent on donations, including for short term rental space each year. Please consider donating through one of the following: