Sandra Corbett, center, shows volunteers, from left, Allie Young, Mary Allsup, Faye Robertson and Carol O'Brian how to make infant funeral gowns from donated wedding dresses during a gathering in West Point Oct. 14. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
October 21, 2017 10:08:14 PM
Angel Gowns of Mississippi is spreading its wings. The effort to organize northeast Mississippi volunteers to transform donated wedding gowns and formals into infant burial garments is gathering momentum. On Saturday, Oct. 14, about 17 people met in West Point to learn more about the mission and to cut fabric.
In a story published in The Dispatch Aug. 20, Sandra Corbett shared her desire to establish a network of people in the Golden Triangle and surrounding area willing to cut, sew and deliver the tiny garments to hospitals, funeral homes and anywhere else they are needed. Outfits are provided at no charge to grieving families, relieving at least one stress at a time when traditional clothing is seldom available in appropriate sizes.
Corbett currently lives in Lake Dallas, Texas, but originally hails from West Point. She intends to move back within a couple of years. She is active in an Angel Gowns group in Texas and knows there is a place for it in north Mississippi as well.
In the wake of newspaper publicity, Corbett heard from potential volunteers and decided to try bring as many together as she could during a visit to West Point to see family.
She took four donated dresses with her Oct. 14 and demonstrated how to cut them to make sets that include a gown, bonnet and keepsake memory pillow. One size 12 dress can yield up to 27 sets, Corbett said. Sizes range from pouches for very early losses to gowns for the smallest preemies to full-term infants. Many volunteers consider it a ministry.
"We wanted to get everyone together to let them meet each other and find out what they could or wanted to do," said Corbett. "They all are so nice. The ladies got each other's phone numbers so they could get help if they need it." Most, if not all, went home with two or more gowns to work with. "When our sets are finished, we'll get them collected and delivered where they need to go," said Corbett.
Dot Wagnon saw the August story in The Dispatch and was among volunteers attending the meeting in West Point.
"It touches your heart what you're doing for these babies. It's something that is so needed," Wagnon said. "There are a lot of people at home who can do this; they don't even have to leave their homes. Somebody will bring dresses to you to cut, or sew, and someone will pick that up when you're finished. If you're not able to leave home, we still need you."
Angel Gowns of Mississippi needs donations of additional wedding gowns, prom dresses and other formals. "And we always need more volunteers to cut and sew, pick up and deliver," Corbett said.
Angel Gowns is a nationally registered program with volunteers throughout the country.
Corbett welcomes inquiries. For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her at 662-436-1603.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.