by ANA OLVERA
Courtney Betten, 5, and her brother Gavin, 4, of Rockford looked at all the dolls inside United Bank, at 155 Marcell Dr. in Rockford, with great excitement, gasping and pointing at every doll they liked. Courtney’s favorite doll was dressed by Lisa Banas.
“It has a cute little doggy! I like her eye color and I definitely like the braids in her hair,” said Betten.
The bank buys 100 unclothed dolls, and friends, customers and people from the community can pick a doll they would like to dress. Then the public can go to the bank and vote for their favorite doll. Voting will run until December 4.
The winning doll is kept for a year and is then sent to the North Kent Service Center (NKSC) along with the rest of the dolls. Parents can go to the NKSC and choose a doll for their child. There will also be a donation box for NKSC’s boys’ toys at United Bank.
For the event’s seventh anniversary, United Bank decided to do something new. The business did not have the time or talent to dress the dolls, so other businesses were asked to sponsor the dolls. The bank asked for $35, but some businesses gave more.
River Valley Auto decorated a doll as a “grease monkey” with a smudge of oil on its left cheek. Frenz Coffee House dressed a doll in an apron with a cup full of coffee beans. Beverly Combs decorated “Little Princess Running Deer” in fur and moccasins.
“We have some people that are so loyal and start calling, wondering when the Dress the Dolls contest will start,” said Nancy Martin, manager of United Bank.
With money being so tight this year, the bank thought about cutting back, but realized the need is even more present. Thanks to the generosity of Jane at DollarVille, the bank is able to get the dolls at a bargain price.
The dolls are dressed in a variety of ways. Knit or elegant dresses and even cultural outfits adorn the dolls. Some even come with accessories ranging from pets, purses or backpacks to sunglasses or a second outfit. The dolls also have many themes, from a biker to a pharmacist, Ram fan, and even twins.