A Massachusetts-based national nonprofit that focuses on providing wedding dresses to military brides, first responders and health care workers has lost the majority of its inventory after its facility was flooded last week.
Thousands of wedding dresses, estimated by the organization to be worth over $7 million, were ruined due to the flood waters that hit Brides of America’s warehouse in North Andover, local news outlet WCVB reported. About 80 percent of the organization’s stock has been wiped out, according to Heidi Janson, Brides Across America’s founder. Brides Across America did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“Everything was just mud soaking wet, water everywhere,” Janson told WCVB, adding, “This is our home base. For everything we run, all our events, all our charity division out of here. So any time we have a last-minute wedding, we’ll come, and we’ll be pulling.”
According to its website, Brides Across America, which was founded in 2008, has donated over 28,000 wedding gowns to military and first responder brides.
“Our purpose is to have bridal salons and wedding professionals bring awareness and support by expanding their philanthropy efforts by holding bridal gown giveaway events in their community,” said the organization in its mission statement.
“We believe in changing lives and transformation,” it continued. “If we can change one life and make a difference, we have done what we set out to do.”
The organization had no flood insurance since the warehouse was not located in a declared flood zone, according to a GoFundMe established on behalf of Brides Across America. The fundraising page also said that the wedding dress inventory was also used for Brides of America’s Operation Wedding Gown events.
“This is devastating and we are unsure how we can continue our mission,” Janson said in a statement shared via the GoFundMe page.
At the moment, the organization is currently focused on tackling the mold and water damage inside the warehouse. Funds from the GoFundMe will help in this process. “It might seem like a small thing even just $10,” Janson also told Boston 25 News, “but that will go a long way in the end game because this is a big mission, we’re a small team with a big mission and we’ve been doing this for 15 years.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
According to CBS News Boston, North Andover experienced approximately seven inches of rain on August 8, resulting in flooded roads, basements and businesses like Brides Across America.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey and Lieutenant Gov. Kim Driscoll recently visited the area to survey the flood’s impact, which North Andover’s town manager said could approach $20 million in damage, the same outlet reported.