Meet Justi Underwood Bates, one of the most thoughtful brides you will ever meet.
After her wedding, Justi decided to do something very special with her wedding dress. Instead of just leaving it hanging in her closet, she chose to have it repurposed into 17 tiny angel gowns. Angel gowns are dresses that are given to babies who unfortunately do not get to go home from the hospital.
Like Bates, there are now many brides throughout the country donating their wedding dresses for the cause thanks to the help and hard work of the Angel Gown Program®. The Angel Gown Program® is an organization of kind volunteers who carefully sew, package, and ship repurposed dresses for families who have endured a terrible loss. The program was initiated by the NICU Helping Hands out of Fort Worth, Texas which was founded in 2010 by Lisa Grubbs. Grubbs is an active volunteer for many child and family causes, as well as being a mother of four herself and wife to a neonatologist. Grubbs and her team work tirelessly to provide these beautiful tiny dresses to grieving families throughout the nation.
Volunteer Peggy Lawrence holds up a dress that has particular sentimental value to her. “The lavender is from one of my bridesmaids’ dresses from when i got married in 1981”. Lawrence is part of a team of dedicated volunteers who are spread throughout the USA working together to make these special items.
In an effort to ensure that all families received a gown, the program does not charge for the garments and relies on donations to keep its work continuing. The shipping fees have been causing financial burden on the program as each gown can cost anywhere between $25-100 to ship, especially if it needs to be sent on overnight delivery.
The Angel Gown Program® provides families not only with a gorgeous gown, but also a token of kindness, empathy, and gesture of a good will from a loving supportive community. What a wonderful group of people who have come together to honour life so beautifully.