For weeks now, clothing donations have been pouring into Trafalgar Public School in London, Ont.

The centre of a donation drive, it’s designed to give grade eight students in five east-end schools free access to formal wear for prom.

Trafalgar, Ealing, Aberdeen, CC Carrothers and Princess Elizabeth Public Schools have been identified as locations where many families feel financial pressure.

Speaking to CTV News London in April, Trafalgar Public School Principal Cheryl Smith said she had high expectations for the clothing drive, and hopes it helps students who might struggle to pay for formal wear.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, the event — dubbed “Shopping Day” — finally kicked off.

The gymnasium at Trafalgar Public School was filled with clothing racks full of prom dresses, suits and accessories, destined for any grade eight student of the Thames Valley District School Board in need of formal wear.

Students could come down to the school before 1 p.m. and choose from 500 donated items to create the perfect prom outfit of their dreams.

With COVID-19 altering or cancelling graduation and prom ceremonies across the region over the past two years, Saturday’s event is another reason why Smith and her volunteers wanted to give students the prom they deserve.

Since COVID-19 guidelines have been relaxed grad ceremonies are resuming, and organizers said that created a big demand for formal items.

"We were just feeling that, as a school and as a community, that some of our schools are still in the process of recovering from COVID and the pandemic and really just needing the supports in all areas to be able to make the experience for all of our students as it should be," said Smith. "The event has been a huge success and we know that our students our very thankful."

The event was a big success, with approximately 300 students picking up items during Saturday's event. 

“We are looking forward to moving forward and having graduation again,” Trafalgar Public School wrote on Twitter.

— With files from CTV News London’s Gerry Dewan and Sean Irvine