WESTFIELD-As a seamstress, Cora Hall always wanted to find a way to give back to the community in a heartfelt way – and her mission has been fulfilled by hosting get-togethers for the Angel Babies organization.
For the fourth time in the past year, Hall and several volunteers who enjoy all aspects of sewing, have lent their talents to cutting, tracing and sewing gowns for babies who pass in infancy. Hall owns Cora’s Kreations Studio at 16 Union Ave., Suite 2j.
“When I knew Angel Babies was looking for a site in this area to bring people together it touched my heart and I knew I wanted to participate,” said Hall.
Alisha Neal, who founded the organization from her home in Buzzards Bay, is grateful for Hall’s generosity. Neal coordinates all logistics and drops off all gowns to hospitals across the state.
“Cora’s Kreations Studio has blessed us with an amazing space,” said Neal. “We are looking for volunteers to trace and cut patterns and even more to sew burial gowns for babies gone too soon.”
The Sewing of Gowns Day is slated June 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants are reminded to bring a bag lunch and a beverage. Sewing machines are available, however, persons who would like to bring their own for the day are welcome to do so.
“We will also be collecting wedding and formal dresses that day,” said Neal, adding that dresses of any color or age are “always accepted.”
Neal added that dresses do not have to be cleaned before donating, however, she does ask that all donations are removed from preservation boxes.
Neal founded Angel Babies in 2012, approximately 18 months after the death of her daughter Hunter Grace.
“Hunter Grace was 17-week gestation when her heart stopped,” said Neal. “She was too tiny for clothes which is why we also make very small gowns.”
Neal said she created the organization to provide memorial services for families who lost a baby or young child.
“We host several memorial events and provide memorial gown kits,” said Neal.
Hospitals in Western Massachusetts that have received gowns include Mercy Medical Center and Baystate Medical Center, both in Springfield. Hospitals also receiving these precious gifts of love include Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Falmouth Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth and the South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. Additionally, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford and Hartford Hospital have received memorial kits.
“We also provide gowns to doulas as needed for local families,” said Neal, adding that she expects to add hospitals in Maine, upstate New York and Maryland later this summer.
“Any hospitals in New England that would like them are welcome to request them,” said Neal.
“I come to Westfield about every six weeks,” said Neal, noting the next gathering would be July 20. “It’s an amazing way to give back and help others in their darkest day.”