Having a useful skill is only as useful as you make it. Members of the Spirit of St. Louis Smockers feel strongly about using our talents to help others and promote education with that skill. Community engagement and philanthropy are at the core of our organization. We invest heavily in supporting SAGA's Wee Care program which provides bereavement gowns to hospitals across the country. Additionally, we regularly provide handmade blankets and care baskets to families in impoverished countries and to people who need them most. Discover more about our campaigns below and get in touch to become involved and stay up to date on our latest efforts.
SAGA Wee Care
The idea for the SAGA Wee Care gowns came in 1986, from Rose Trellis Smockers chapter in Portland, Oregon. Members Chris Owings and Nancy Newell were looking for a distinctive public service project for chapter members that could be made quickly, would require inexpensive materials, would teach beginners new techniques, yet be worth the time of more experienced members. Owings, a registered nurse and childbirth educator, and Newell, a pattern designer, seemed chosen to discover the need for these gowns and determine a way to fill that need. The Wee Care project members sewed and smocked these gowns and bonnets, embroidered blankets, and created beautiful garments to donate to local hospitals to clothe babies who died at birth or shortly after.
It did not take long for the SAGA Wee Care service program to be adopted by SAGA chapters across the United States, Canada, and Australia. It has even expanded further with chapters providing gowns to be used in hospital neo-natal units for preemie babies that survive and must have an extended hospital stay. Often, hospitals request these gowns in prints and brighter colors and use them on a daily basis.
The SAGA Wee Care projects seem to have opened many unexpected channels for communication and emotional healing, as women have noted that stitching the tiny gowns helps them to talk about their own losses.
“When people ask me ‘How did you get to be so creative?’ I tell them it’s because I ate paste as a child.” – Unknown