Made With Love: Uniting Residents Knit Dolls for Sick Kids

on the Thursday, July 18, 2019

A common fear heard from people moving into residential aged care is that they will become disconnected from their community. They believe they won’t get the chance to contribute in meaningful ways that bring colour and fulfillment to life. But a group of inspiring residents from Uniting Gerringong have proven the theory wrong.

After three months of careful hand-crafting, the residents delivered 28 bespoke rag dolls to children at the Wollongong Hospital – gifts from kind and compassionate folks who are continuing to use their time and skills to make the world a better place.

The residents made the special trip to the hospital to deliver the surprise gifts in person. From a punk rocker to a pirate, every doll is unique and made with love.

The residents have been meeting weekly on Wednesday afternoons since February 2019 to craft the beautiful dolls. Now they plan to expand the program to other hospitals in the region.

Everyone at Uniting Gerringong played a part in making the dolls – from cutting out patterns, sewing, filling and dressing the dolls, to threading ribbons and making hair. One resident, Alma, enjoyed the project so much that she took to knitting custom outfits for the dolls between meetings.

Dollmaker, Daphne, says all the hard work has all been worth it.  “The fulfilment that we get out of this is wonderful,” she said.

“We’ve been looking forward to today and – to see their little faces – it is so great.”

Fellow resident, Shortie Schuler, agrees, saying the project brought almost as much joy to the residents as it did to the children.

“We laughed every time we got together,” said Shortie.

“I did most of the sewing and we’d end up with two legs and one arm or three arms and two legs.”

The residents kick-started the initiative when they expressed their desire to give back to the community to Uniting Leisure and Lifestyle Coordinator, Margaret Darling.

“It’s been a delight to see our residents come together, supporting each other and the community,” said Margaret.

“The project has grown so quickly because of their enthusiasm.

“They were very excited to share their creations with the children. Seeing the expressions on their faces and children’s faces was so rewarding and emotional.

“Several residents commented that the project has given them great meaning and purpose and has enhanced their days.”

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