When Mary Page Jones wrote her appeal seeking help sewing rag dolls for children in war zones (“Peacemakers with needles,” May, Active Voice), she hoped readers would volunteer.
In the first 14 days, Jones received 75 e-mails, 235 visits to the website to download the pattern and dozens of letters. Then the dolls started arriving.
“The project has touched a need in people to do something rather than stay at home wringing their hands feeling angst about the world situation and the children,” Jones says.
In Cody, Wyo., 80 dolls are finished and another 80 are underway. Local Girl Scouts, quilting groups and the elderly are making dolls.
In Honolulu, where Jones lived briefly, parishioners at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church made 50 dolls to ship to the Holy Land by mid-May. Another 50 from Australia, Cyprus and around the United States were to be ready for shipment in June. Those were to be distributed at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Others will go to the Wi’am organization in Bethlehem and to a West Bank refugee camp.
The first 500 dolls will go to Jerusalem and the Middle East. The next 500 will go to Haiti.
“Some people wrote to say they were taking the pattern to a group or starting a group to make the dolls,” said Jones, listing Daughters of the King, the United Religion Initiative, a Center for Peace, a mission committee and a craft guild.
Rag Dolls 2 Love, now incorporated and on its way to nonprofit status, soon will be able to accept donations to cover shipping costs.
Comments from volunteers joining the effort delight Jones and the editors at this newspaper:
- “I just finished reading your article in Episcopal Life. I think the dolls are a wonderful idea … I am thinking of ordering 10 kits and asking people in our church to help.”
- “I have seen with my own two children how their particular ‘lovies’ have brought them comfort when they have been afraid, tired and sad. Your idea to bring this comfort to children around the world touched my heart, and I’d like to help.”
- “I am the president of Mary Magdalene Chapter of Daughters of the King at the Episcopal Church of St. Simon and St. Jude in Irmo, S.C., and we would like to help with our hands and purses. We are touched by your article in Episcopal Life.”
- "I was so proud of you when I read the E.L. You are a great inspiration and role model! And just think of the joy those dolls must bring to children who really have nothing at all.”
- “Thank you for the exciting opportunity to help in an angry world.”
To download the pattern for the doll, visit http://www.ragdolls2love.org/. To contact Mary Page Jones and have her send you the pattern, write to her at P.O. Box 292, Wapiti, WY (enclose $2 for mailing), or e-mail her at email@example.com.
To submit your own suggestion for relieving hurt in the world or any other great idea, write to Active Voice editor Nan Cobbey at Episcopal Life (address, page 2) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.