Gatlinburg family loses dresses for special needs prom to wildfires

Family needs 100 plus-size prom dress donations for students with special needs

GATLINBURG (WATE) – A Sevier County family is in need of prom dresses. The family lost their home and all their belongings in the Gatlinburg fires, including hundreds of prom dresses meant for a prom night they host for high school and middle school students.

It was gut wrenching feeling for Melissa Dove when she found her home in rubble after the fires.

The Doves lost their home to the Gatlinburg fires.
The family lost their home to the Gatlinburg fires.

“It’s one thing to your own things that you bought and paid for, but things that people had donated,” she said.

More than 200 prom dresses had been collected over three years, meant for special needs kids. Melissa Dove and her daughter Hannah were planning a prom for the second year in a row.

“They just feel so pretty and beautiful when they go out there,” said Hannah.

It’s a night to feel like a normal kid.

“It’s all about them, which normally it’s not,” said Dove.

It’s something Melissa Dove knows well. Her other daughter Grace has special needs.

One Special Night 2016 (source: Dove family)
One Special Night 2016 (source: Dove family)

“It’s just for them to be a kid that one night,” said Dove.

The mother and daughter need help because they are short 100 dresses. The event is called “One Special Night” and they are still striving to give that to others, even after going through one of their worst.

“People helped us through the way, so I feel like I should give back to the people that helped me,” said Hannah.

“It’s exciting to think about someone else for the future instead of continually focusing on what’s happened,” said Dove.

One group recently donated more than 150 dresses, but they still need about 100 plus-size dresses. If you are interested in donating, you can email them at or visit their Facebook page.

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