Top ten include repeat winners by BETH ALTENA The CARSTAR doll was one of this year’s public-voted Top Ten Dolls in the United Bank Dress the Dolls event, but owner Dan Williams said he wasn’t the talent that dressed the winning doll. “It is really pretty neat. The daughter of one of our employees did it,” he said of the American Girl-style doll that won honors. This year, CARSTAR of Rockford donated dressing for four of the 100 dolls that eventually end up in the home of children whose families are struggling this year. It is the ninth year for the popular event, where United Bank purchases 100 undressed dolls and allows friends, customers and local businesses to take home the dolls, dress them up and return them for donation to a family being helped by North Kent Community Services (NKCS). “It is so fun to see what people come up with,” said United Bank of Rockford Director Nancy Martin. Martin said the entire staff of her branch office is involved throughout the campaign, from untying the many, many twist ties that hold the boxed dolls in prior to distribution, to watching the dressed dolls return. During a voting period by the public the dolls fill the bank—along with their accessories. “Sometimes they come with matching outfits the girls can wear,” said Sandy Waite, director of NKCS. She pointed out a doll included a necklace for her girl, which matched the attire of that doll. Another doll had purse for herself, and one for a child. This year’s winning doll is a repeat top choice, created by Linda Huff, who received a huge prize package for her efforts. Waite said need for all kinds of donations, from toys to non-perishable food to clothing to cash is at an all time high—a figure that seems to be a moving target as the economy continues to challenge Michigan families. In the week before the traditional Christmas celebration, 800 families with 2,000 children will seek aid from the Center, receiving a Christmas dinner of either a turkey or chicken, depending on family size, as well as fixings, socks, hats, mittens, scarves, and a choice from Toys for Tots donations. The Dress the Doll toy is a special treat […]
Dress the Dolls
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 […]
Girls will be thrilled to find a beautiful doll on Christmas Day, thanks to the efforts of the community and United Bank. Dolls are now available to the public, or businesses who are invited to take a doll home and dress it, as elaborately or simply as desired. The best-dressed dolls will be chosen for recognition before being delivered to the North Kent Service Center for distribution to struggling families. For several years the bank has brought this popular program to Rockford and in past years dolls have come complete with a pony and cowgirl outfit, dressed in Rockford athletic theme, with a sleigh and in a theme representing area businesses. After being dressed and returned to the bank, the dolls will remain on display at the bank before going to the center and becoming some child’s favorite Christmas gift. For more information, visit United Bank or call (616) 863-6081.