LITTLE HOCKING, Ohio (WTAP) - 1/21/2020
The Porterfield Baptist Church is encouraging participants in the Feburary 7 "Night to Shine" event to find a wardrobe for the occasion, in another event it's holding this weekend.
This Saturday, the church holds a dress and suit giveaway for those who need formal outfits for the event.
"What we try to do is give a chance to try on some dresses, and for them to choose a dress we have in stock. That way, they have a nice outfit to wear for the prom event for Night to Shine."
The dress event is Saturday, January 25, from 2-5 P.M. at the church, located off route 50 in Little Hocking.
A night as special as prom to many people with special needs, the annual Night to Shine dance is just around the corner.
Started by the Tim Tebow Foundation, a Night to Shine incorporates hundreds of churches around the world to give those with special needs a special night. One of the many churches around the globe taking part in Night to Shine is Little Hocking's Porterfield Baptist Church.
“It’s always the Friday before Valentine’s Day, and what’s great about Night to Shine, is it’s an event where all special needs will actually be able to come and feel loved and feel cared about and feel valued,” said Eric Leeson, Associate Pastor of Porterfield Baptist.
This is the second year Porterfield Baptist Church is hosting a Night to Shine event, but it was Warren Local School District staff that decided to start one in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
“Last year, Warren Local School District, in which I am the director of special programs, came up with this idea to host this event and part of The Tim Tebow foundation requires a church be the official host,” said Larry Ryan.
This year, honored guests will gather at another nearby church, St. Ambrose, and take a short limo ride over to the red carpet at Porterfield Baptist with their new “buddy.”
“Last year we had 131 guests, this year we are planning for 150. So, each guest receives a person that kind of walks them through the night, kind of makes sure they have a good time, that they get their food, that they’re taken care of,” said Leeson.
Beyond dinner and dancing, organizers have planned a multitude of activities for their guests.
“We’ll have a lot like Wii games for that. we’ll have cornhole. We’ll have a magic show. We’ll have karaoke, and board games and things like that,” said Leeson.
And for those who need it, there will be a sensory sensitive space.
Buddies have to go through a background check, but organizers do still need volunteers to buddy up, and until Thursday the church is also collecting formal attire for the event.
“On Saturday, we actually have an event for them to come in and try their dresses on, see if they like one, and that way if they don’t find one here, maybe there’s another location or maybe they can find one that fits them,” said Leeson.
Even though organizers are still looking for volunteers and dresses, they’re happy to give back.
“The thing I’m most proud about is our community and the way we come together. We do have a lot of students who attend here, but the number of students and teachers that are involved with this event is what’s awesome. Our athletic department, Friday nights in the winter is normally a big-time basketball night. Well, that schedule is cleared off so all the students, teachers, families can come help and volunteer,” said Ryan.