A Massachusetts-based nonprofit is giving away wedding gowns to health care heroes in communities around the country.
Brides Across America, known for giving away wedding dresses to military women and first responders, broadened the group it serves amid the coronavirus pandemic as health care professionals continue working to save the lives of COVID-19 patients.
“We just wanted to do something to give back and at least say, ‘Hey, we’re thinking of you,’” the nonprofit’s founder, Heidi Janson, told TODAY Style.
“They’re putting their lives on the line, just like the military or a first responder, so this was our way to give back to them. We just thought it lined up nicely with our mission.”
While the nonprofit’s flagship outlet is located in Andover, Massachusetts, the organization also ships dresses out of the state to other boutiques and event spaces where local organizers can hold a showing for those who qualify to come to try on gowns.
“The response has been great,” Janson said. “The girls are so happy. They’re like, ‘I’m working, I’m planning a wedding. I don’t really have time (to find a dress).’ They can’t believe it’s free.”
Brides Across America launched in 2008, Janson explained, when she noticed a lot of people needed gowns amid a slew of military troops being sent into duty.
“We had a lot of deployments, and people needed dresses last minute,” she said. “We felt the need to give back and do something.”
Today, her nonprofit has about seven people helping and they’ve mailed gowns donated by boutiques, salons and designers across the U.S., even as far as California.
“We’re pretty small, but we have a big mission,” she said. “It’s definitely hard, but we’re trying our best to continue as much as we can with the current circumstances.”