Generations join for doll project

Two young Marion girls and their grandmother have found a way to spend fun time together while helping others.

Becca Williams, 11, and sister Courtney, 8, daughters of Jeff and Tami Williams, spent most of last Wednesday putting together doll baskets at the rural home of their grandmother, Wanda Williams, who lives along Nighthawk Road.

By early afternoon, the threesome had 20 baskets ready for delivery to United Methodist Urban Ministry of Wichita. There, the baskets will be distributed to children who may not to be fortunate enough to have dolls of their own.

Becca said they got the idea from fellow members at their church, Aulne United Methodist, who described an experience they had while delivering goods to the Salvation Army distribution center in Wichita.

“Some people took some stuff down there and there was a 5-year-old girl there who saw this doll that had no clothes or anything, and she wanted it really bad,” Becca said. “She just loved it so much.

“So they told my grandma that, and we started making dolls in baskets with clothes.”

The trio hunted for used dolls at the thrift stores in Hillsboro and Marion. They then found baskets that can serve as a “beds” for the dolls.

Each basket is first lined with fabric and decorated. A doll, with at least one set of extra set of clothes and some toys, is placed in the basket, then covered with a “blanket” for delivery.

The trio started collecting the items about a year ago, but the project was placed on hold when Dean Williams, Wanda’s husband and the girls’ grandfather, became seriously ill. He died in March.

In the past few months, the threesome have resumed their work.

“We’re always on the lookout for baskets and dolls and clothes,” Wanda said. “We unloaded it all from upstairs now, and today we’re putting on the finishing touches.”

One of their biggest challenges is finding enough baskets.

“We have some dolls, but we don’t have enough baskets,” Wanda said. “So we keep scouting for baskets.”

The sisters realize they probably won’t get to see the children who eventually will receive their handiwork, but that’s not a problem.

“It just gives us a fun time to spend with our grandma, and to think about the kids who don’t have all this stuff,” Becca said about the project.

Grandma said the enjoyment is mutual.

“I’m proud of these girls and I really like working with them,” she said.

The trio hasn’t set a goal for the number of baskets they want to prepare, but plan to keep working at it as they acquire the materials they need.

Anyone who has a basket that might work as a bed for a doll can contact Wanda Williams at 620-382-2076.

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