Angel Gowns are beautiful burial gowns made from donated wedding or special occasion dresses that are hand-crafted by volunteers to comfort grieving parents in the NICU.
Every year in the USA, more than 626,000 babies are born through miscarriage and stillbirth. These babies don’t get to go home with their parents, and many times never see them again.
Founded by Missy Ray, Angel Gowns of WNY is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that strives to honor these precious little ones by providing one-of-a-kind Angel Gowns to the families who have lost their children.
Cortes and her team of volunteers take the gowns from their storage, deconstruct them, and create beautiful, lovingly finished Angel Gowns. Once complete, they are distributed to local hospitals and care centers. Oftentimes, chaplains or charge nurses will donate these gowns to local bereaved parents who are in need of something kind and thoughtful to help ease their grief.
The mission of Sunshine State Angel Gowns is to provide these final-photo and burial gowns, along with a blanket for the baby, to bereaved families in need. The organization reaches out to all hospitals across Central Florida, working directly with Winnie Palmer Hospital and Florida Hospital to ensure that each family in need has what they need when they need it.
Each gown is made with love by volunteers from around the area, including Orlando to Arkansas. New volunteers are welcome, with no sewing experience required. Volunteer days are held monthly at Waterfront Studios in Altamonte Springs where they meet to deconstruct and sort gowns, cut, sew, and lovingly finish them.
For the smallest of souls, Angel Gowns also creates memory blankets – little bundles of fabric with a tiny blanket and hat. These blankets are often the only thing that a parent takes with them from the hospital, and they can be cherished as a reminder of their child or a way to hold on to a precious memory.
A group of dedicated volunteers meets monthly at Waterfront Studios to deconstruct and sort gowns, then cut, sew, and lovingly finish and package them. These finished gowns are then distributed to local hospitals and care centers, where chaplains or charge nurses will donate them to bereaved families who need something kind and thoughtful to help ease their grief.
Those who have been touched by the loss of a child and would like to help can contact Cortes directly or make donations online. Monetary donations are always needed to cover the costs of supplies and shipping, and can be sent through PayPal or check (click here for more information).
As a mom of three boys who has suffered from loss, Cortes is incredibly passionate about helping those in need. She says that despite the difficulty of the mission, sewing these beautiful gowns and blankets can be an important step in healing. It’s the first touch of humanity and dignity that she and her team can provide to families who have lost their children, and Cortes wants to do whatever she can to give them a moment of peace when they need it most.