Riverside Students Stitching for Hope
Stitching for Hope started as an idea at Riverside High School Clothing II Class last year and has turned into a passion for several of the students in Tracey Haas' classroom.
Stitching for Hope was the name chosen by the group who creates burial gowns, blankets and hats for babies. These special gowns, made from a designed pattern from scratch, are not only beautiful, but are made from all donated materials -- wedding gowns.
The first wedding dress was donated by a parent last year and Mrs. Haas said she had to close her eyes to make that first cut. They got 17 gowns from that first donation.
The word got out about the project and they received wedding gowns, some over 50 years old and sealed. Other generous donations including ribbon, yarn, thread, and other material needed for the project have been given.
The finished gowns are placed in zip lock backs and given to hospitals and organizations to be distributed to parents who have suffered the loss of a baby. They have 85 ready to go to the March of Dimes to be distributed. Some have matching hats and blankets.
The group has received gowns from 12 states and they decided they would keep up with where the wedding gowns come from and try to get at least one from every state.
Haven Crews wrote a letter to send to every state explaining the Stitching for Hope project and asking for help to get the word out through local media. They not only want to get dresses from every state, they would like to send the burial gowns to hospitals or organizations in every state.
They can use any kind of formal gown, silky material, thread, zip lock bags, ribbon, and yard.
They have also applied for grants to help with some of the materials needed. They do not charge anything for the dresses.
Haven and Ramon Garcia designed a tuxedo/look for the top of the gowns using a variety of material geared for burial gowns for little boys.
"Some many not want to dress their baby boy in lacey gowns," Haven said.
The group expressed their appreciation to everyone who has donated materials and dresses for the project.
This project touches these young people as they reach out to help parents in a time of loss.
"This is not a feeling you can get just anywhere," Haven said. "When we receive letters from the families who have used our gowns, we read them aloud and are personally touched. Almost every member in our group knows someone who has lost a child. The last thing a mourning parent wants to do is find a gown for their deceased child."
Their goal is to get the gowns to as many hospitals as they can.