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Prom Partners


By Cindy Uken Lois Tackett never went to her high school prom


or any school dances. She didn’t have the proper dresses or the money to buy them. “To me, there was no use to finish high school—


I couldn’t participate in the dances or anything,” said Tackett, co-founder of Manna From Heaven Outreach in Myra, Ky., a nonprofit that provides food, clothes, furniture, home repair items and more to people in need. Tackett wasn’t going to let other young women—


and men—follow in her footsteps, as she and her husband, Ralph, partnered with Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati, 250 miles away. Resurrection, which has a long-standing


relationship with Manna From Heaven Outreach, agreed to collect prom attire for girls and boys— and not just dresses and tuxedos. Their donations included shoes, purses, makeup, shirts, ties and more. The goal was to help give students a prom to remember. The congregation opened the “Class of 2017


Prom Closet” in a coatroom at the church, paving the way for Myra’s students to celebrate a rite of passage. At presstime, they had collected more than 100 items and donations were still coming in. “This is a dream for them,” said Cindy Zorn,


outreach co-chair for Resurrection, where her husband Henry is pastor. “We come from suburbia


26 JUNE 2017


and these kids have things. The kids in Myra have nothing. This has really touched a nerve.” Myra is located in Appalachia’s


coal-mining country. The average annual income in the community is about $8,700, Zorn said. Nearly 25 percent of the youth don’t attend high school. “You can’t change an entire


culture,” Zorn said. “But you can make inroads. For these kids to have a prom is really a celebration.” Resurrection’s relationship


with Manna From Heaven Outreach started in 2012 when the Zorns answered the nonprofit’s request for assistance with food, clothes and toys for people in Myra. Zorn made the delivery and found herself


traveling back with more the following week. “My husband said, ‘We can’t be one and done,’ ” she said. And nearly every month since that first delivery,


Resurrection loads one or two U-Haul trucks with food, personal hygiene products and other items and someone makes the 4 ½-hour drive to Myra. Zorn said the monthly deliveries are valued between $33,000 to $35,000.


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