nhh2016retreat-1Quilters are generous, no question about it. Probably it’s not surprising that men and women who pick to develop items of warmth, beauty, and comfort are the exact same people who share those products, and their time and talents, with those in require.

A single group that’s benefitted from the generosity of quilters is NICU Assisting Hands, an organization founded in 2010 by Lisa Grubbs and her neonatologist husband Randy Grubbs. The Grubbs knew that babies at the Fort Worth medical center where Randy performs received good medical care, but wanted to give more emotional and educational support. The system has grown to consist of education and mentoring for NICU families, 1-on-1 mentoring, a financial assistance program for NICU households, and NICU Mom CONNECT, a post-NICU support group.


The Gordons, with their twins born at 24 weeks gestation. They are now 7 years old and Natalie Gordon is the plan facilitator for NICU Helping Hands.

In 2013 the Angel Gown® system was added, and that’s exactly where the generosity of quilters (and other talented sewists) comes in. The program supplies gowns and wraps to families experiencing infant loss. These lovingly constructed garments are stitched from donated wedding gowns. The practically 200 volunteers have stitched around 5,000 gowns and wraps (for babies smaller sized than 1 pound) for families experiencing infant loss.

One particular of these who sews for the Angel Gown® system is Michelle Patrella of Florida. “Some in our group are quilters, some are expert seamstresses, other people sew costumes for productions or are certified trainers in sewing strategies,” says Michelle, who discovered about the program by means of an on the internet post and has been sewing for Angel Gowns® for 2 ½ years. “I don’t feel anyone doesn’t know someone—a sister or mom or best friend—who’s been impacted by prematurity or an ill youngster. No one likes to talk about it, but it takes place. It’s wonderful to make anything useful at the exact same time I’m carrying out one thing I enjoy.”


Wraps and gowns sewn by Michelle Patrella

Although sewing may be entertaining, creating the gowns is an exacting method. “The items we gift to families are beautifully constructed and go by way of a strict high quality handle approach,” says Lisa. “We know when households open the package they want it to be specific and excellent for their baby.” To that finish, the Angel Gown plan holds an annual sewing retreat to teach the abilities and methods for producing the gowns. This year, 65 ladies came to the Dallas-Fort Worth region for lectures, participatory sessions, and camaraderie. “The gowns may be tiny, but the precision needed and the seriousness of the goal, these can be difficult,” says Michelle. “It’s fantastic to be capable to share guidelines and pictures.”


The 2014 NICU Assisting Hands retreat

Attendees traveled from California, Minnesota, Florida, Arkansas and Alabama on their own dime. In addition to travel costs for the retreat, sewists donate their personal thread and tools, the expense of sustaining their machines, and the postage to ship their completed gowns to Fort Worth, where the top quality manage team inspects and packages them. A silent auction was held at the retreat and even those who couldn’t attend were capable to participate (Moda donated considerably-appreciated precuts to the auction). The proceeds went to defray an additional expense—the expense of shipping the gowns and wraps to the hospitals and households who request them.

The Angel Gown plan supplies gowns and wraps to hospitals, folks, and funeral properties in 48 states. “When you do anything like this, I think you should do it with excellence and our seamstresses do,” says Lisa. “They are committed, type, and generous females (and a single man). It is awesome.”


Some of the 200 gowns and wraps, sewn from donated wedding dresses, by Michelle Patrella of Florida.

Michelle Patrella, who has sewn around 200 gowns and wraps, enjoys volunteering for Angel Gowns simply because she can function at her personal pace. “I work complete time and so my involvement varies—I may invest two hours soon after work or 12 hours on the weekend,” she says. But there’s a lot far more than comfort at play here. “When you hear stories from people with individual expertise of infant loss you comprehend how much you’ve created a difference. We do not do it for thanks, we do it for comfort, but to know that you personally touched somebody implies a lot.”


For much more details about NICU Helping Hands, including details on their applications and volunteer opportunities, pay a visit to their website http://www.nicuhelpinghands.org (The organization is working through a backlog of wedding gowns and not accepting extra gowns until additional notice.)