Angel Gowns Provide Comfort

angel gowns

During this season of giving, many are searching for ways to give back. For some, the most fulfilling way to contribute is by providing comfort for others during times of grief and loss. For families whose infants are lost, at any stage of pregnancy, angel gowns can offer them a small bit of peace during their time of mourning. These gowns are created by seamstresses across the country using donated wedding dresses and donated material. The women work on a volunteer basis, which means there is no charge for the gowns and they are offered to hospitals, birthing centers, funeral homes, and directly to families.

The NICU at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center extends its deepest gratitude to this special group of volunteers and their hard work. Each gown has been made with so much love, honoring the life of a baby taken too soon and helping to ease some of the pain associated with these tragic circumstances.

Brandy Smith, a nurse in the NICU at Riley, knows first-hand how meaningful these gowns can be. The family of a young woman who recently passed away received one of these gowns, and she says it meant the world to them. “To know that someone took the time to make a beautiful dress in her memory, it helped us to not feel as suffocated and hopeless as we were feeling,” she says.

Judi Mangiaracina, the founder of Angel Gowns, says she is proud that her organization has grown to include seamstresses throughout the United States. She credits the dedication of these women as the reason behind their success. Some of the seamstresses are retired, and some are stay-at-home moms, but they each find the time to sew these angel gowns during their free time. They even have a Facebook group where they communicate and share ideas about how to best create these garments.

The program accepts bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, and prom gowns that are less than five years old in light shades of blue, pink, or purple. They also accept accessories such as shoes, jewelry, veils, and pins. The seamstresses use these items to create the angel gowns, which are then provided to hospitals, funeral homes, and directly to parents.

Lisa McCoy, the placement coordinator for Angel Gowns, enjoys connecting with grateful hospital staff and arranging placement for the gowns. She has a passion for making people smile and feels her job is a great way to do that. She lives in Utah with her husband and six children, and when she isn’t sewing, she is volunteering at her local church.

Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach is dedicated to delivering high quality, compassionate care to patients and their families. Visit the website to learn more about the services they offer.