Volunteers give new look and life to dolls

Volunteers give new look and life to dolls

November 27th, 2013 by Meghan Pittman in Local Regional News

Volunteers Wanda Lehigh, Patricia Beaman, Mary Page, Eleanor Hanson, Leranne Grace and Clarice Murray, from left, pose for a photo while fixing dolls during a weekly "Doll Squad" meeting.

Photo by Meghan Pittman

Surrounded by miniature clothes, ribbons and brushes, dolls from years past are given a new life around a table in Collegedale every Wednesday morning.

The Doll Squad, a group of community volunteers through the Samaritan Center, cleans the faces of forgotten friends that are donated to the center. They brush their knotted hair and give them a new outfit and the dolls are then reshelved, good as new, to be bought for the next little girl. The group has been meeting since 1995.

"A lot of heart goes into this," said Keith Hemming, Samaritan Center director of operations. "It's such a great service to us, because they are volunteers."

Some have only been helping out a few years while others are well versed in the doll makeover.

"Sometimes they come to us and they are just awful and their hair is a mess," volunteer Loranne Grace said of the dolls. "We use all sorts of things ... nail polish remover, conditioner, just to help them look better."

The group estimates they repair more than 1,000 dolls each year. When spring cleaning hits, the group gets an influx of dolls. Before the holidays, the same thing happens, with people cleaning out closets for new toys.

"But Christmas is an important time of year to have these dolls ready, because people can come and pay just a few dollars for like-new dolls for these children," said Debra Johnson, thrift store manager at the Samaritan Center.

The group is always in need of more dolls to fix up and, of course, more volunteers to help. They meet at Morning Pointe of Collegedale on Wednesday mornings.

"It's so nice to do this. It just makes you feel young again," said Mary Page.