"I received your package today. Oh my, it made me cry how beautiful the layettes are. How can I thank you for this great work and including us as part of your family of hospitals. God bless the makers of these layettes for their gift of love and compassion." —Rosemary

"I appreciate having beautiful coordinated layettes and keepsakes in all the appropriate sizes to offer to each patient and her family as these sets do not exist to be purchased on short notice." —L & D Nurse

"I can't believe that someone made this with such thought, care and perfect workmanship. It has taken a lot of worry off me to see my baby boy cared for so respectfully." —Anonymous Parent

"I am on the front line providing care to patients so I witness the impact of this ministry on families. The layettes and keepsakes are given to families from every walk of life who find themselves thrust unexpectedly into one of life’s most distressing situations—the death of their baby during pregnancy or shortly after birth. They rarely have any warning or time to prepare. The layettes serve a vital need and the keepsakes are treasured by the families for a lifetime."
—Bonnie Tincher, RNC, CNS, MSN (Now a board member of Angel Layettes)

"I care for families who have experienced the loss of an infant through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death and can provide an appropriately sized, beautifully crafted layette created by caring volunteers. They are so touched and relieved. Infant clothing in these small sizes is not readily available in the retail market. The layettes provide the family with treasured keepsakes that acknowledges and honors the infant’s life." —Grateful Labor & Delivery Nurse

"Angel Layettes add a beautiful lasting memory to a life event that is permeated with profound grief." —Susan S., R.N.

"Our box arrived! It felt like Christmas! I opened each one. Absolutely beautiful! I am so happy to have them. I like how they velcro in the front. It will make handling these little ones easier. I especially like the lavender sleeves as a keepsake 'box.' I will prepare them to hand out with all of the information the parents will need. I know they will be so appreciated. I will keep you up to date on their use and outcomes. Your ladies do beautiful work. Please share with them our appreciation."
—Amy G., RN

"We are so blessed to have you and your organization. Blessings to you!" —Michelle P., RN

"Thank you for providing our Angel Layettes." —Georgia

"Thank you for thinking of others during their time of need."

"This is so great! Be blessed and know this will bless many."

"You really live up to your name." —Marie T.

"We love them. Thank you. They are gorgeous." —Sharon B.

"We want to thank your group for the beautifully handmade infant gowns, blankets, caps and hearts. We know our patients will appreciate the love and care you put into making them." —Hospital Staff

In the News

Angel Layettes president runs nonprofit with business sense

Sharon Sikes runs her nonprofit organization like a business.

At Angel Layettes, it’s all about efficiency and fiduciary responsibility.

Mrs. Sikes uses her background in business and bereavement to run the ministry, which produces burial layettes for infants who have died before, during or shortly after birth. For Mrs. Sikes, it is a labor of love and she expects nothing in return.

Read the full story here.


Angel Layettes celebrates a decade of giving back

(KETK) - TYLER TX — One local non-profit continues to grow as they hit a decade of serving East Texas. Their expansion has allowed them to help families across the nation as they gain volunteers and new facilities.

More than a decade ago, Sharon Sikes decided to turn her love of sewing into something meaningful for families across East Texas. Now she spends her days making hand-made layettes for parents who have lost a child from early birth, a miscarriage, or still-born.

"I just heard of a need at a local hospital where they needed burial layettes for their still-born infants," said President of Angel Layettes, Sharon Sikes.

A small non-profit that started in her home began to expand as more people saw the great need for what she was doing.

"I know there's a need bigger than Tyler and that's evidence by the fact that we've never advertised and we are now 50 hospitals nation-wide," Sikes said.

The beautiful layettes are made inside their 2,000 square foot facility by a group of 20 volunteers, and no space goes unused. From cutting, to sewing, to gluing the volunteers do it all. Each layette sent to a family includes a hat, gown, blanket, and a special heart that carries a very profound meaning.

"The heart that we make is cut up and then put back together," Sikes said. "Like the parents hearts who are broken and then put back together."

And while this means so much to the women behind the layettes, it means even more to the women who receive them.

"They're in such profound deep loss that they have nothing to provide clothing or burial arrangements for their baby," said nurse and Vice President of Angel Layettes. "So when we're able to provide a beautiful layette that is sewn with love and care it is amazing the way they receive that.

Source: KETK Website


Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX, February 28, 2014

Business provides much-needed service to grieving parents

By Cristin Reece

GRESHAM — Nobody ever wants to think about it, but unfortunately not every birth ends with a happy, expanded family.

When tragedies like a still-birth or miscarriage strike, Angel Layettes is there to help families lay their little one to rest with dignity with tailor-made burial layette sets the non-profit corporation provides to hospitals completely free of charge.

"Some families have a lifetime to take pictures of and with their children," Angel Layettes founder Sharon Sikes said. "The families we serve only get one picture for their child's lifetime."

For the last decade Sikes, 70, said neither the need, nor her drive has diminished a bit.

"And as we move into our 10th year and continue to expand, I can honestly say my passion for this hasn't dimmed in the slightest," Sikes added with a laugh. "When the Holy Spirit is in control, you don't tire out! But it isn't really about us (she, her husband or staff members) -- it's always been about the families. That's why you won't find mine, or anyone else's name, on anything we do."

Sikes is a certified bereavement facilitator and volunteer chaplain and has worked for more than 30 years to support both individuals and families

experiencing grief. She said she became aware of the need her corporation meets in 2004, and saw an opportunity to use her love of sewing to help ease the pain of these families' losses.

"By partnering with hospitals around the country, Angel Layettes provides specialized burial layettes and keepsakes, at no charge, to families facing this overwhelming loss, the company's website states. "These beautiful handmade garments and blankets are specially designed to meet the needs of the small and fragile children they seek to honor. In addition, the family is presented with a matching keepsake heart to help preserve the memory of the lost little one. Due to logistics, budgets and other reasons, hospitals are not equipped to meet the needs of families who have experienced a perinatal loss. This void creates additional grief, both for the families effected by the loss, and the caregivers in the hospital who seek to help them."

As word of her service spread, Sikes said she realized the business was outgrowing her home and in 2007 formally incorporated Angel Layettes as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In 2009, the company opened its own 3,800-square foot facility located in Gresham, dubbed The Angel House.

"We outgrew our home so fast," she remembers with a laugh. "And our manufacturing process keeps getting more and more streamlined, which is great since our shipments keep getting larger and larger. Last year we shipped 2,500 layette sets, the year before it was 2,000."

Longtime volunteer Nancy Hill added, "We've done a lot of tweaking, but every change is an improvement and makes (the manufacturing process) better!"

Now, Sikes and her husband, Arnold, oversee a staff of volunteers, who hand sew each piece of a layette set to exacting specifications set forth by hospital staff, specific to the needs of their patients and every set is provided to families absolutely free of charge. Layette sets include a gown, a hat, a blanket and a matching keepsake heart ornament.

"There's a lot of symbolism in each heart," Sikes explained. "As time passes, sometimes the memory fades. The heart in each set is made of the same fabrics (as the gowns and blankets), so parents have a little reminder of something that is exclusively their child's."

Sikes said she and her staff adhere to four core principles concerning the way the corporation operates. They are, as found on the company's website:

Angel Layettes products must acknowledge the baby’s life and provide comfort to the family while preserving their memories;

Specialized burial layettes and keepsakes should be provided to families and hospitals at no charge;

The layettes must be made with the best available materials and sewn with love and compassion in order to meet the specialized needs identified by medical staff; and,

Angel Layettes should grow large enough to help as many families as their volunteer and monetary resources allow.

"All our volunteers are a little bit of what you could call 'perfectionists'," Sikes joked.

Angel Layettes currently serves more than 40 hospitals in 15 states, the majority located in Texas. Local healthcare facilities that have partnered with Angel Layettes include Palestine Regional Medical Center in Palestine, East Texas Medical Center-Athens, Lufkin's Memorial Medical Center and Trinity Mother Frances Healthcare System-Tyler.

"I am on the front line providing care to patients so I witness the impact of this ministry on families. The layettes and keepsakes are given to families from every walk of life who find themselves thrust unexpectedly into one of life’s most distressing situations – the death of their baby during pregnancy or shortly after birth. They rarely have any warning or time to prepare. The layettes serve a vital need and the keepsakes are treasured by the families for a lifetime," medical professional and Angel Layette Board member Bonnie Tincher, RNC, CNS, MSN, stated on the company's website.

To volunteer or to find out how to help in another way, visit www.angellayettes.org or call 903-534-5212. To help support Angel Layettes, send donations to Angel Layettes, P.O. Box 6618, Tyler, TX 75711-6618.


Angel Layeyettes featured in Tyler Morning Telegraph

Tyler Monring Telegraph

Angel Layettes: Tiny clothes made by a Tyler nonprofit group to enable parents of stillborn babies to hold their children without damaging the body

Read the full story here.