From: WOWT Omaha Channel 6 story 4-23-06

Mary Madeline Project
Donated wedding dresses become infant burial gowns

An organization is making dealing with the death of a baby slightly easier as one grandmother is turning her family's pain into a symbol of compassion for grieving families.

"This is the bottom of the dress. You don't have to trim it or anything," said Carlin Kammerer, founder of the Mary Madeline Project.

A donated wedding dress will bring comfort to families dealing with the death of a baby. The dress is one of many donated to the Mary Madeline Project, started by Kammerer in 2003 to honor her granddaughter Madeline.

Madeline died in 1996 before she was even two months old.

"My daughter wanted to save everything she ever wore in the hospital," said Kammerer. "She was just too upset to go out and find an outfit for her to wear, so I had to do it for her."

It was difficult for her to find something to fit Madeline, but her organization is making sure no other family has to experience that.

Small burial gowns are made from donated wedding dresses.

Joyce Kovar used one of the dresses in February when her premature daughter Zoe Rachel died shortly after birth.

"One of the things that really worried me at the time was what I was going to dress her in, because she was too young to survive," Kovar said.

Every donated wedding dress makes 11 baby burial gowns.

"We're not changing the world," said Kammerer. "But for the parents that day -- that have to pick out a burial outfit, it's helping their world a little bit."

The Mary Madeline Project also accepts prom dresses.

The group makes suits for infant girls and boys.

For more information on the Mary Madeline Project, call 402-551-7574.