Rutherford Church Saves Prom with Annual Clothing Drive

Each year, prom season comes with a surge in demand for the prom dresses, evening gowns, suits, ties, and tuxedos that define the party. However, this part of the party often comes at a heavy price to the underprivileged. 

That’s where Grace’s Closet comes in, held at an former gymnasium at Grace Episcopal Church in Rutherford, New Jersey.

Every year, the church-sponsored effort collects hundreds of articles of gently used formal wear, which is then given away to teenagers who need the clothes most. J. 

“People are so happy to donate to the cause,” said Susan Muller, the volunteer manager of Grace’s Closet. “They think what we’re doing is beautiful.”

The clothing drive started in 2022, as an effort to collect prom dresses for donation to underprivileged families. In 2024, the effort has expanded to include items for teenage boys, such as suits, shirts, tuxedoes, and ties, as well as other items, such as jewelry, shoes, evening bags, and of course, dresses, dresses, dresses. With the expansion of the organization, Grace’s closet has also launched a website this year at, all thanks to volunteer Joanne Luna-Surowiec. 

As for her inspiration to start this project, Muller cites the church’s minister, Rev. Karen Rezach, whose saying, “This really is the essence of outreach. See a need, and fill it,” perfectly sums up the goals of the charity, and of the Grace Episcopal Church as a whole. The church also runs a monthly food-to-go program, delivering 200 lunches to underprivileged individuals on the third Saturday of each month. 

Donations of gently used suits, dresses, jewelry, purses, or ties can be made at any of the 10 donation boxes scattered throughout Bergen County, with the full list available here. Monetary donations can also be made through the organization’s website to be directed toward new racks, mannequins, refreshments, and the like. 

The giveaway dates for this year are set for Saturday, March 2, and Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church in Rutherford, NJ. Guests, required to be at minimum 13 years of age and accompanied by a chaperone, will wait in the pews upon arrival and will be allowed into the temporary boutique on a first-come-first-serve basis, where they will be allowed to try on up to 3 suits/dresses in the provided changing rooms before making a selection.