Founded in 2014 and based in St Catharines, Precious Angels Niagara is a volunteer-run charitable service that transforms donated wedding dresses into tiny “Angel Wraps” and “Angel Gowns” for pregnancy and infant losses. We then donate these gifts to bereaved families, completely free of charge, through hospitals and funeral homes, and as keepsakes through pregnancy and infant loss bereavement support groups. These gift boxed garments are created to bring honour, tradition, and dignity to the baby’s brief life and a measure of comfort to the heartbroken parents.
Our Angel Gowns for both girls and boys are fully lined and tied closed with ribbon for easier dressing. They are finished with a detachable charm, an adjustable crocheted bonnet, and a Precious Angel label before being placed in a tissue-lined, clear-top box that the parents may keep as their baby’s memory box. With our volunteers’ great attention to detail, we are proud of the quality presentation we offer, as we believe the “precious angels” deserve no less.
During a Dress Drive held in the fall of 2017, we had over 500 wedding dresses generously donated to our cause. Three and a half years later, our volunteers continue to work on creating the Angel Wraps and Gowns that are the main focus of our group. We also received christening sets, flower girl and First Communion dresses, and rather than dismantle them to create Angel Gowns, we altered them for the special needs at children’s hospitals and hospices we serve. Going forward, we will be creating our own angel-sleeved or caped dresses, in keeping with the “Precious Angel” signature look we are becoming known for. We haven’t forgotten the boys— we have purchased vested sets to donate with the dresses to pediatric palliative care units in hospitals or children’s hospices throughout Ontario and, more recently, in Montreal. Wherever there’s a need, we want to help fill it for precious angels of all ages.
We donate our services completely free of charge, with even the courier charges absorbed as part of our charitable service. We are not a registered charity, but operate through annual fundraisers, as well as personal and corporate donations. We use these funds judiciously to bring these gifts to families at such a devastating time.
We have received many touching notes from parents thanking us for the memories they will always cherish of their precious baby or child dressed as the angel it is. We are honoured that they take the time, in the midst of their grief, to send us their kind words of appreciation. It reinforces to our volunteers why we do what we do.
We always welcome feedback from the palliative care and bereavement teams who work so closely with the families—it’s how we have developed our unique services to meet their needs—and are happy to share with you the following comments:
“The beautiful gowns the pediatric palliative care hospice at Roger Neilson House receives from Precious Angels Niagara are truly a gift for many of our families. Each and every gown is beautifully crafted in all sizes for boys and girls. They provide families with a wonderful option for taking pictures of their precious infant, having them dressed for spiritual services and often families choose to dress their baby in these gowns for burial. It is clear these gowns are an integral part of our families’ experience that brings light and beauty to this challenging time.” —Lesley Sabourin, RN CHPCN (C), Perinatal Hospice Coordinator, Roger Neilson House and CHEO Palliative Care Team
“My colleagues and I through Emily’s House, Mount Sinai, and the Hospital for Sick Children were absolutely delighted to receive the handcrafted Angel Wraps and Gowns through Precious Angels Niagara. As we carry forward in our third year of developing Toronto’s first perinatal hospice program, we are grateful for any opportunity to honour the lives of the little ones and their families entrusted to our care. The beautiful Angel Wraps and Gowns feel like one tangible gift we can offer families, as they anticipate the loss of their unborn child, and are faced with a multitude of sensitive and heartbreaking decisions. The gift of an Angel Gown allows for one less worry, and one more reason to celebrate the life. We are sincerely grateful.” —Sarah Van Meer, R.N BScN, Grief Support Coordinator,
Infant Maternal Perinatal Advanced Care Team (IMPACT)
For more information about Precious Angels Niagara, we invite you to like our Facebook page or contact us by sending an email to [email protected]