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Promapalooza returns to Lansing, Illinois

Sunday, March 29

by Erin Nauta

LANSING, Ill. (February 27, 2020) – As prom season approaches, teens start searching for that perfect outfit for the big dance, and formals shops are ready to accommodate—for a price. For many, that price is way out of range. And for some, any price is out of range.

That’s the need that Promapalooza was designed to meet. Promapalooza is put on every year by The Community Closet, located at the First Christian Church of Lansing (2921 Ridge Road). Formal and party dresses, suits and tuxes, shoes and jewelry—teens can shop for it all without a worry, because it’s all free.

Shoes and jewelry are available at the Community Closet during Promapalooza. (Photo: Jamie Hiskes, 2019)

Much formal clothing sold in the US is bought new and worn only once. The Community Closet invites people to donate their formal and party wear, giving beautiful clothes a new life rather than letting them sit unused in a closet.

Promapalooza started in Laura Hensley’s living room before it eventually grew to fill a room at First Christian Church of Lansing. “We don’t want someone to give up on their prom just because of a few dollars,” Hensley said.

Laura Hensley started Promapalooza in her living room seven years ago. Now the annual event is held at First Christian Church of Lansing. (Photo: Jamie Hiskes, 2019)

This is Promapalooza’s eighth year according to Laura, who founded The Community Closet with her daughter, Michelle Perry. Michelle, then 16, was inspired to start taking in donated goods to help those in need after reading a story about an abused, displaced baby. She used Facebook to gather donations of diapers, clothes, and other supplies to make the infant’s relocation go more smoothly. “It kind of just snowballed from there,” said Perry, now a 24-year-old teacher. “We’ve helped fire victims, homeless people, even pet shelters. We try to spread out as much as we can.”

The Community Closet is accepting formal and party wear now through March 29, including all sizes of mens and women clothing, shoes, purses, ties, and jewelry. And the goal is to give it ALL away to teens who show up for Promapalooza on March 29.

More information is available at their Facebook page, “The Community Closet of Steger and Southlands.”

Erin Nauta
Erin Nauta
Erin brings a variety of experience — both creative and practical — to her work with The Lansing Journal. Whether she is designing ads, writing articles, answering phones, or doing pre-press proofing, her goal is excellence with a servant's heart.


  1. WOW! What a wonderful idea! I wish something like this existed when I was in HS. Great Idea Laura & Michelle!

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