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Prom Dresses Will Be Given Free to Molokai Students | News, Sports, Jobs


Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services on Molokai received 75 prom dresses from The Bella Project Hawaii for free distribution to high school students on the island. Mokulele Airlines flew the dresses to Molokai late last month. A distribution event will take place early next year. Photo courtesy of MEO

Two nonprofits and an airline have teamed up to provide 75 free ball gowns to Molokai youth, who must travel off-island to purchase their formal wear.

The Bella Project Hawaii, an Oahu-based nonprofit, collects donations of dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories and distributes them to high school students. The project also partners with nonprofit organizations that work with low-income, special needs, critically ill, and military high school students.

Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services Program Specialist Mela Candelario had worked with the project in the past and contacted them. On November 27, the dresses were flown to Molokai by Mokulele Airlines.

“Not every family can afford the cumulative cost of buying a prom dress,” Candelario said in an MEO press release on Friday. “For our Molokai ohana, it’s not just about buying clothes, but also plane tickets to a nearby island, because we don’t have any boutiques or formal clothing stores on the island .”

Bella means beautiful in many languages; the goal is to create “Bellas of the ball”, according to the Bella Hawaii program.

MEO Youth Services plans to distribute the dresses for free early next year at the MEO Molokai office, Candelario said.

“Many Mahalo to The Bella Project and Mokulele Airlines for making this all possible,” said Candelario.

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