Founded in 2014, Angel Gown Sewers of South Jersey is the result of a desire to give back and help grieving parents at a time they need it most. This is a non-profit organization that accepts donations of wedding gowns and sews them together into a beautiful burial dress for infants who pass away during or shortly after birth.
Since its inception, the organization has been able to provide more than 450 angel gowns. They are delivered to hospitals and funeral homes throughout the state. If you’d like to donate a dress or volunteer to sew, visit Angel Gown Sewers on Facebook.
One of the first requests for gowns that Allison Soholt received was from a woman who lost her daughter at 18 weeks. That’s when she began thinking of ways to use her sewing skills to help others. She found a wedding dress at an Empty the Nest home clean out and thrift store in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and sewed it into several angel gowns for babies who never made it into this world.
A few years later, she teamed up with other women to create a new group, Andrew’s Angel Gowns. They make these gowns out of wedding dresses, but they also take in donations of men’s suits and pants to make vests for boys.
In addition to making the gowns, they hand out prayer shawls and blankets that can be worn by families during their grieving process. This helps them feel they’re doing something to honor their child and give their grief a place to belong.
Eventually, the group was so busy that they hired a full-time seamstress to oversee the operation, but they still need help. So, they have a team of volunteers who meet monthly in the basement of All Saints Lutheran Church in Darwin.
The group assembles about 50 gowns per month, and Hauer says they have donated them to a number of other local hospitals. They’ve even partnered with the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office to increase their reach.
While it’s not an easy task, she’s grateful for the many kindhearted people who have helped her out. She’s seen the joy and hope these gowns can bring to a family dealing with loss.
It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help someone during such a difficult time in their lives. This is why it’s so important to make sure these angel gowns are available for those who need them most.
During her work with the group, she’s met many families who have lost a child through miscarriage, early neonatal death or stillbirth. Each of these situations is different, but each one has a similar impact on the mother’s heart and mind.
This is why she wants to ensure that all mothers have access to an angel gown or wrap when they lose their baby. That way, they can be comforted by their own beauty and know their child is in a safe place.