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Give Care Share: Amazing Angels

Story by Emily Robertson

The idea for Amazing Angels came to Kevin and Ericka Church after they experienced unimaginable loss and heartache. They knew they didn’t want other families to have to go through a similar experience.

“Amazing Angels began informally in 2011,” Ericka said. “A year after we lost our identical, twin, infant daughters, Abigail and Alison, we had a yard sale in our front yard to raise funds to purchase our daughters’ headstone.

It was painful and heart wrenching. We were selling their cribs and the items we purchased for the twins so that we could do this one, last thing for our daughters. It was that day that my husband and I decided that no family should experience this heartache while trying to survive grief.”

What began as the Churches selling items in their front yard to raise money and help other families and parents in Bowling Green quickly grew when friends began to donate items to sell and help in other ways. By 2014, Amazing Angels became an official local 501c3 nonprofit with the assistance of several friends and community members forming the first board of directors and a local attorney who helped the group to reach their official status.

While Amazing Angels originally began to provide financial assistance to purchase infant headstones, their services have grown to include providing bereavement jewelry, cremation urns and more. The only qualifying requirements for a family to seek assistance is that the family lives in south central Kentucky and have experienced an infant loss, but with tremendous support, the group has even been able to make exceptions to those requirements.

“With incredible support, we’ve been able to expand our services when the need has presented itself for families located on the Tennessee state line or to families who have lost children older than 12 months old,” Ericka said.

“Amazing Angels recognizes that any loss of a child is tragic and we value the importance of healing by honoring all amazing angels.” The organization also provides for bereaved families in lots of other ways given the current needs in the community.

“We host an annual event called ‘When You Have Empty Arms on Mother’s Day’ to support mothers or loved ones that don’t know how to support a mother of an angel on these kinds of days,” Ericka said. “Let’s be honest, Hallmark doesn’t make a card for this.” The organization also hosts a large, annual fundraising event called “Humor Heals” each September in honor of Abigail and Alison’s birthday.

The event is a stand up comedy show with a live auction hosted and ran by professional comedians. The Churches says that this event has sold out the last three years and they hope to see it continue to grow because it is such a central part how Amazing Angels is funded. Since the fundraiser this year, Amazing Angels has used the money to help 12 different families. Other funds come from donations and from support from organizations like Lil’ Angels Attic, where they have been able to promote and spread their mission. Amazing Angels also has the opportunity to partner with other local organizations with a similar focus.

“We have started to support Steps for Samuel, founded by Charles and Julie McCoy in honor of their son, Samuel,” Ericka said. “This organization offers unique and necessary services and supports regarding infant loss in our community and they have recently began the process to become a nonprofit.

We remember those years and see value in supporting organizations that compliment our services and serve our community.” Amazing Angels also partners with Steps for Samuel each October during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness (PAIL) Month. Each October 15 at 7 p.m. the Wave of Light Campaign takes place where families and friends of pregnancy and infant loss can light a candle in memorial for their baby. The event’s goal is to have everyone who has lost a baby light a candle and create a wave of light across the world for 24 hours.

Groups like Amazing Angels and Steps for Samuel are working to take away the stigma around infant loss and grief, because so often people are at a loss on how to best support those around them.

“Generally, most people find it difficult to talk about infant loss and engage people in conversations about infant loss,” Ericka said. “I believe most people just do not understand the impact this loss has on parents, siblings and other family members. Also, they just don’t know what to say. Grief is complicated in all forms.”

It is important to note that Amazing Angels and all the group’s events and efforts are completely volunteer-driven. There are currently no paid staff members, but Amazing Angels is directed by nine board members. Amazing Angels will once again host “When You Have Empty Arms on Mother’s Day” in May 2019 and the Humor Heals event in September 2019. For more information, or to get involved with Amazing Angels call (270) 779-2680, email [email protected] or find “Amazing Angels” on Facebook.

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