A charity called Dresses for Jake’s Dates was conceived in the grief of one family, but the parents and siblings of 7-month-old Jacob Garrett resolved to have some good come from the pain of loss when the baby died of SIDS last year.
Jake’s mom Sherrill Garrett and husband Joe, of Checotah, Oklahoma, founded Dresses for Jake’s Dates after their son’s unexpected death last May, as a way to cope with lingering loss. The Garretts, a blended family, still speak of the raw grief of losing Jacob — making the charity they created in his memory that much more moving and sweet.
Sherrill said that Dresses for Jake’s Dates, a way to organize prom dresses for young women with limited means, came of the planning for proms for her friend’s daughter. She recalls a conversation and explains that the idea came to her after friends suggested volunteer work to help cope with his death:
“[A friend] said, ‘You know, I want to tell you that as I sit here and listen to my daughter talk about who she’s going to date and who she’s going to go to the prom with, and I couldn’t help but thinking that 15 years from now you’re going to wonder who Jake would have taken to the prom,’ and I thought, ’15 years from now? I just need to get through the day.”
Joe Garrett says that the existence of Dresses for Jake’s Dates has proven heartening, and he is happy his son’s memory is being carried on while bringing happiness to girls who might not otherwise have a nice prom dress:
“It’s amazing … I never would have thought, you know, something like this would happen … I mean it’s just God’s work that it’s happening. That’s the way I feel. Jacob was my only son, and I mean, it’s an honor, I guess, for me to keep his name out there.”
“If we can provide financial relief for one family and make one little girl feel like a princess for a night, then we’ve accomplished what we set out to do … I just – we could crawl into a hole and feel sorry for ourselves because we lost our son, we really could. But we don’t feel like that’s what God would have us do.”
To learn more about Dresses for Jake’s Dates and how you can honor Jacob and help out, visit the Dresses For Jake Facebook page.