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Quilters donate 82 dolls, complete with handmade ensembles
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Barbara Cameron of the Turlock Quilt Guild prepares one of the 82 dolls that were donated to children in need. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

What started as a project for an embroidery club four years ago has now turned into a holiday service tradition for many local sewers and quilters. The goal of the project: to make Christmas a little brighter for children in need this season.

For months, members of the Turlock Quilt Guild and customers of local store Cloth and Quilts have been sewing and quilting up a storm. The focus of their labor has been making ensembles for 82 dolls.

“The first year we made up 12 dolls, dressed the dolls and made one or two outfits, underwear, either a nightgown or pajamas. The next year we made 25; then last year we did 60. We made up 82 dolls this year,” said Barbara Cameron of the Turlock Quilt Guild.

Last Sunday, the dolls were dressed in their new clothes and had their hair styled before being packed into individual tote bags, along with their ensembles. The dolls were then given to different organizations and agencies throughout the county, including the Modesto Gospel Mission, Turlock Salvation Army, local churches and schools, and Child Protective Services.

Cameron was surprised by the support the project has received each year.

“Other people heard about it and (got involved),” she said. “One woman, Diane Graustein, made the majority of the doll clothes. A lot of other store customers make the doll quilts.”

The project has grown outside of the quilting and sewing groups, with donations of Beanie Babies to be included in the tote bags from one community member, an RV club gave 15 dolls and one woman left 14 bags of material to be used to make clothes in her will.

“I may have started it four years ago, but so many people donate; we couldn’t do it without their support,” Cameron said.

Cameron has already received five quilts and four dolls for next year. She also has an idea to make the dolls even more special in coming seasons by naming them and supplying a “birth certificate.”

To donate funds or supplies to the doll project for next year, contact Cloth and Quilts at 632-3225.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.