Volunteers Hope to Curb Parents' Grief with Angel Outfits

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GALLOWAY, N.J. -

The loss of a child is unbearable, and for some parents that loss comes before they can even bring their child home.

According to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States.

“One woman, her baby was given to her in a shoe box," said Pam Voll, project manager with Heaven's Baby Angels. "Another one, they’re just wrapped in wash cloths or if they’re in the labor and delivery those green surgical things.

"Some of them don’t even get to really see their baby."

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For the mothers who do get to see their baby, a group of volunteers wanted to make sure that the baby was presented in the best possible light, even during such a dark time.

“I feel that I’m comforting them in some way," said Terry Molnar, volunteer with Heaven's Baby Angels. "That they have a remembrance of their baby and they can keep it as a keepsake for the rest of their lives, and always remember that their baby touched that garment.”

For the last eight months, women working with Heaven's Baby Angels have been creating and donating bereavement outfits for local hospitals around South Jersey. The main element that makes the little outfits so unique is they’re all made from donated wedding dresses.

Molnar said she has designed and sewn together at least 60 of what they’re calling Angels Outfits.

A wedding dress can create up to 25 Angels Outfits for babies 16 weeks old to full-term. It all depends on how much material is in the dress and the type of material.

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The women with Heaven's Baby Angels request that any donated dresses be a heavier or thicker material.

“Some of the dresses are absolutely beautiful with this gorgeous netting, but we find it’s too soft," said Voll. "It’s almost like a slip kind of material. The girls really can’t sew on those. They start to fray.”

Heaven's Baby Angels officials recently had an abundance of wedding dresses donated, so what they’re asking for is volunteers to sew or even knit.

“You have a sewing machine? That’s all you need," said Molnar.

“Some girls approached and said, ‘Gee, I knit and I can crochet. Can I do something?’ And I said 'Sure,’" said Voll. "So, they started knitting and crocheting beautiful hats and blankets for us." 

The Heaven's Baby Angels organization currently has roughly eight seamstresses and eight knitters.

For more information on how to get involved or how to start your own group in your area, go to heavensbabyangels.shutterfly.com.

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