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Charity Sewing – Dolls of Hope

Those who’ve been around this blog for a while, know that I’m a huge fan of sewing for charity. Today I want to share with you one of my recent favorite charities in need of sewing donations: Dolls of Hope.

dolls of hope quilting project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

image from Dolls of Hope

Dolls of Hope Charity Sewing – Stuffed Bears for Children in Crisis

When my youngest son was ready to start working on an Eagle Scout project this summer, and knowing it would need to be something with skills in my wheelhouse, we talked about it, I shared some ideas, and he choose to make stuffed toy bears for the organization Dolls of Hope.

You may remember that I featured Dolls of Hope last year as one of the sewing-for-charity causes in my Sew Goodness series.

dolls of hope quilting project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

Anyone who’s helped a kid with an Eagle Scout project knows it is a ton of work. And, because the scout’s job is to take charge, lead the project and teach others along the way, it’s not the most efficient way to mass produce. But I’m proud of this guy – he did it!

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

We were so grateful for fabric donations from Riley Blake Designs who donated flannel and minky scraps and an awesome neighbor who donated all of the stuffing.

 His goal was to sew 50 bears, but with the extra fabric/stuffing we had we were able to make 68!

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

It was so great to see the variety of kids who came to help with the Dolls of Hope projects. We had one day where it was prepping the bears – tracing the pattern, stitching the faces, preparing for the machine sewing. (Some even tried machine sewing for the first time.)

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

Then we had another day of stuffing all of the bears. 

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

It was so fun to watch these kids not only try new skills, but willingly jump in and help with our Dolls of Hope sewing project, especially when my son explained that the bears would go to children in need – most with nothing of their own.

Another shout out to helpful neighbors – one who came and helped stitch up the holes in the side after all of the bears were stuffed. And an extra special shout out to this special neighbor who helped with some of the machine sewing. This is our wonderful neighbor Xiong Li. I’ve shared a little bit in the past about this wonderful friend and her Hmong sewing skills. Now in her 90’s, sewing is still her favorite thing to do- she makes flannel baby blankets for charities whenever she gets her hands on fabric. She says it makes her days go faster.

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

She helped us sew together some of the bears which was extra poignant since many of the donated bears and dolls go to children in refugee camps.

Xiong Li lived in a Thai refugee camp with her own small children before being relocated to the United States in the 1980’s. Her husband helped rescue and hide American pilots who had been shot down over Vietnam and Laos in the 1970’s. As a result he and their family was hunted and tortured by the Laotian military. Their family had a harrowing escape across Laos and the Mekong river with bullets flying over their heads, before being rescued and given refuge in a camp in Thailand and eventually asylum in the US. 

I love this special friend so much. These are real people with traumatic stories they didn’t choose. We are so much more alike than different.

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

Want to help us make more Dolls of Hope Bears?

We delivered the bears to to Dolls of Hope this week. As we talked to Sarah, the founder, she mentioned that she’s had requests for 1,000’s more bears before the end of the year. The bears/dolls are usually requested and delivered by charities and organizations traveling to help people in need around the world.

We’ve completed the Eagle project, but we want to help get more bears in the hands of children. Want to help us? You can make and send your own collection of dolls or bears to Dolls of Hope. You can find all of their information on their Facebook page.

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

Or, if you only have time to make one or two flat bears for Dolls of Hope, send them to us before Thanksgiving. We have a pro-team of experienced stuffers now and would be happy to finish them and deliver them to Dolls of Hope for you. You can find the pattern to make the bears here. If you contact me directly (amy@diaryofaquilter.com), I will give you my shipping information.

Dolls of Hope has requested soft fabrics if possible (flannel, minky, or fleece). We made many of ours with flannel on the front and minky or fleece on the backs. They’re so sweet and soft. If you have flannel or minky scraps lying around, this is a great way to put them to use!

dolls of hope sewing project featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

image from Dolls of Hope

Are you doing any charity sewing before the holidays this year? I’d love to hear what you’re doing!

Sewing for others in need is so rewarding. It blesses both the giver and the receiver. But does not need to be a source of added stress or guilt. Here are my extended thoughts and lessons learned on how to pace yourself when sewing for charity.

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Kay
    November 9, 2019 at 3:44 am

    How absolutely wonderful. Thank you for being such a good person. x

  • Reply
    Karen
    November 9, 2019 at 4:23 am

    This is a wonderful project, Amy! I just downloaded the pattern! Thank you for letting us know how we can help!

  • Reply
    Meghan H.
    November 9, 2019 at 4:39 am

    That was such a lovely, heartwarming post. And your neighbor and her family sound like amazing people. Thank you for sharing their story with us.

  • Reply
    farmhousequiltsblog
    November 9, 2019 at 5:32 am

    Thank you for sharing the story and the link Amy. I am going to share this with my FB group and see if we can get some more done!

  • Reply
    Little Quiltsong
    November 9, 2019 at 6:44 am

    This warms my heart, Amy! I just delivered my quilts to the hospital last week. God was so good – this was the biggest amount yet, since starting 4 years ago. Our main hospital services 3 other hospitals in the surrounding area – and even in this day and age, many have nothing to wrap their babies in, when it is time to go home. I’m just a little, little part of this, but am always so amazed when tears come to the staffs’ eyes, when my husband and I come in to deliver our quilts. Your son and friends did such a wonderful charity drive. Helping hands – there is something for us all to do :)!

  • Reply
    hopflower
    November 9, 2019 at 8:35 am

    How wonderful of you, Amy. The snaps of those kids with their teddies is heartwarming. You have brought a lot of joy to them. Bless you.

  • Reply
    Kathie L
    November 9, 2019 at 11:58 am

    My guild collects placemats in December that we’ve made for our local Meals on Wheels. We usually make more that 400 so that every client in the county gets one or two. We love doing it.

    • Reply
      Amy
      November 9, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      What a great project!

  • Reply
    Kris King
    November 9, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    This is awesome! My son is also an Eagle Scout, and I remember how much work his Eagle Project was. I am going to try and make a few of these to send to you. I have some flannel that I think would make some great bears, but I don’t have any minky or fleece. Is it alright to make both front and back out of flannel? Thank you for bringing this incredible project to my attention.

    • Reply
      Amy
      November 9, 2019 at 3:12 pm

      Yes! Both sides flannel is great. Thanks Kris!

  • Reply
    Rosemaryflower
    November 9, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Wonderful Amy. It is so nice to see kids working together to make and share with kids in need.
    I am very proud of your son

  • Reply
    Suzanne Fain
    November 9, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    What a great Eagle Scout Service Project! For several years my quilting buddy and I have been making pillowcases for a camp set up for foster kids. As of yesterday we had completed 17 of the 55 pillowcases needed for the 2020 summer camp.

  • Reply
    Pamela Greer
    November 9, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    What about donating also to the children in the Bahamas that lost everything in the storm. I would love to help sew but I don’t have a computer to download pattern. Pam @ texlj@hotmail.com

    • Reply
      Sarah Parson
      November 11, 2019 at 11:19 pm

      We actually sent some to the Bahamas:)

      If you email me your address I can mail you patterns. Dollsofhopeinternational@gmail.com

      And thank you for wanting to help.

      Sarah
      Founder of Dolls of Hope

  • Reply
    Sandal
    November 10, 2019 at 4:46 am

    This is a wonderful project! Our quilt guild donates completed quilts to veterans, a food pantry, nursing home, girls club, and meals on wheels so our quilts bless people from birth to seniors. Last year we donated 150 quilts! I’m so thankful to be a part of this program!

  • Reply
    hopflower
    November 10, 2019 at 6:43 am

    How generous of you, Amy. The children look thrilled to have the teddy bear dolls and I know you enjoyed making them. This is a win-win, for sure.

  • Reply
    Virginia
    November 11, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  • Reply
    Ev
    November 11, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Are there any charities like this to sew for in Canada?

    • Reply
      Sarah Parson
      November 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm

      Where are you in Canada? I have lots of groups sewing Dolls of Hope all over Ontario.

      If you want more information email dollsofhopeinternational@gmail.com

      Thank you!

      Sarah
      Founder, Dolls of Hope

    • Reply
      Sarah Parson
      November 11, 2019 at 11:26 pm

      What a beautiful post Amy. Thank you for sharing this here in your blog and inspiring others to help us and participate in other sewing projects to serve those in need. And thank you for sharing about your amazing 90 year old neighbor – what an incredible lady ❤️

  • Reply
    Leslie Williams
    November 16, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Amy, found the pattern for the bears. Have 12 bear completed with faces embroidered. May I send them to you along with a donation to purchase stuffing? They are ready to be mailed out on Monday 11/18/19, Thank you for allowing me to contribute. Best of luck to your son, sounds like a great kid.

    • Reply
      Amy
      November 16, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Fantastic! Thank you so much, Leslie! I just DM’d you my shipping info. xo

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