World Doll Day Spotlight: The Broken Doll
Have you heard of The Broken Doll? The Broken Doll provides dolls to children in need in both the US and abroad. It draws itself apart from other donation groups because The Broken Doll doesn’t just accept new or like new toys. The Broken Doll takes the time to fix up dolls that are less than perfect, giving these kids a truly unique new friend to treasure.
As you know, today, 6/13/2015, is World Doll Day! (Okay, this post is a little early, but I’m sure for some of you, it is the 13th by now, so it counts!) It’s a day to celebrate and share the hobby with others. In honor of World Doll Day, I asked The Broken Doll a few questions about what they do.
Question: Can you give us a brief description of what you guys do at The Broken Doll?
Answer: The Broken Doll accepts doll donations, either used or new, and gives them to children in need after any needed repairs are made. The children who receive these could be in foster care, children who are going through an illness or facing a terminal illness of a parent, or a child whose family simply can’t afford to give them a doll.
We are here to bless the children of the world through the power of play. Children grow up way too fast in this day and age because of so many situations that are out of their little hands. We believe that having their own doll helps with some sort of stability. She/He, the doll, is a constant companion they can always count on when the world becomes scary and uncertain. We send dolls all over the word. Some have traveled as far as Guatemala and Haiti and as close as Kentucky.
Question: How did The Broken Doll get started?
Answer: Dolls are expensive as most parents can attest. When my daughter wanted an American Girl doll, we simply could not afford to go out and get her a brand new one.
I love DIY projects, so I started looking around the internet on how to repair dolls and came across a bunch of sites where people were selling dolls that had some issues that needed to be fixed. I purchased a Bitty Baby off line first to start small. I looked up videos on how to clean and repair dolls and repaint them. When I thought I had seen enough, I went to the local craft store and bought some acrylics and other paint supplies needed to make this repair happen.
After several days of trial and error and repaints, I had it down. I was so happy that I posted my results online to a repair group. All I talked about was painting and I started taking faces off other dolls and practicing. When asked by my husband what I was going to do with all the dolls I was repainting, I didn’t know what to say. So, I prayed that if God wanted to use my talents for something bigger, that I was up for it. Well, be careful what you pray for. That is when Mama Merry contacted me.
Merry explained that she repaired dolls for foster children in her area and needed someone to paint some Bitty Baby heads for her after seeing my photos of the one I had just finished. I was floored. That’s when The Broken Doll was born. This was what I was going to start doing in my own state. Needless to say, I was ecstatic and shared the news with my daughter and asked her if she would be my assistant. That’s when we hopped on Facebook and started The Broken Doll page. The four doll heads she sent that started it all can be seen on our banner.
Question: What makes it different from other doll donation charities?
Answer: We are a mother and daughter team who work out of our attic when time allows. So, since it is a part time thing, we are not an official non for profit. We have made friends with some of the most wonderful men and women from all over the world who send the most amazing donations.
Since we are so small, we know every one of our donors by name and chat frequently with most of them. It feels more like a big extended family than a “charity”. We are all in this together, taking care of these kids with our different talents of sewing, doll making, painting, or thrifting. I love the old saying of “It takes a community to raise a child” and that is what I feel like we are having a hand in doing. We ALL have a hand in this wonderful adventure that is The Broken Doll.
I often begin my posts with a greeting of “hello Broken Doll Family.” So, I guess that’s the difference. It’s a family feel, not so much a charity feel. People don’t give because they want a receipt at the end of the year for taxes, they give because they want to help a child in need.
Something else that is different about us is our repairs. Often times, those in need are given our second best, our leftovers. The dolls may still be in good shape, but we like to “jazz” them up a bit and make them unique. I personally freshen the paint or completely erase the face and put on a new one if it’s a doll that is mass marketed so she’ll look unique. Eyes will be replaced, doll bodies are unstuffed, cleaned and stuffed with new filling. More often than not a mani and pedi are also put on their precious little nails.
We don’t want them to just have any ‘ol doll. We want them to have a special doll. So, each and everyone is given a full salon treatment. It takes a lot longer than just brushing them out, putting on an outfit and sending them out, but we believe those kids are worth it. They deserve something special and we give it to them.
Question: What kind of dolls do you accept?
Answer: We accept two types of dolls. The first are 18” dolls, new or used, in any condition (even parts), like A Girl for All Time, American Girl, Our Generation, Journey Girl and the like. These are given to the children in the age range of 7 and above. The second types are 16” dolls, new or used, in any condition (even parts). These are the size of Bitty Babies, Bitty Twins, Corolle, Adora and the like which are given to the younger children.
We stick to these two sizes of dolls because we have ladies from all over the world who donate handmade clothing for these dolls. It makes it easier for people who do sew to know what size to send if they want to make an outfit or if a person is thrifting to know what clothing brand to donate. We also have a group of ladies who send blankets for the dolls.
Question: What has the reception been to your donations? How do the kids receiving them feel? How do you feel being able to give them away?
Answer: The reception of the donations has been amazing. We hear from our contact at child services every so often who sends us direct messages from the men and women working with the children. Since the foster care system is so guarded, we can’t know the children directly, but from what we hear, they love the dolls so much. The dolls, clothing and all the donations that go along with them are dearly loved.
We recently sent over 40 doll bags to Guatemala and they said the children there were blown away at having a doll. Some had never even had a toy of their own. Knowing that we are making a difference in a child’s daily life makes me and my assistant so joyful and I know it makes the donors excited, too. Every time a doll goes out, there is the work of no fewer than ten people in each of the doll bags. Like I said, it takes a community. The world is our community. The dolls are our ambassadors to show love.
Question: Where can readers find you if they’d like to donate?
Answer: We can be reached through our email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also on Facebook. If potential donors connect with us through either method, we will follow up with more information.
I’d like to thank The Broken Doll for taking the time to answer these questions. The Broken Doll falls completely in line with what World Doll Day is all about– bringing the gift of dolls to those who need it. For more information on The Broken Doll, visit their Facebook page and next time you’re spring cleaning, consider donating a doll to their worthy cause.