SANTA CLARA, Calif. Last summer, Kristin Bennett of the Lawrence Station Ward, Los Altos California Stake, started thinking about a Christmas project for the Relief Society. With two criteria in mind every ward member to participate and the community to benefit she hit on the idea of making doll beds as gifts for needy children.
Pasha Grant was appointed specialist in charge of the project. Using as a pattern a sturdy 18" by 12" bed, including a headboard, which her father had made for her daughter, she presented the idea to Bishop Phil Stewart. "From then on," she said, "the project took on a life of its own."
The work was done in batches. Elders quorum members cut the wood and pre-drilled the holes. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts sanded the toys; the young men assembled the parts which the high priests lacquered. Primary children and young women painted and decorated the completed beds. Relief Society sisters showed younger members how to sew mattresses and covers, sheets, pillows and pillow slips and, finally, the colorful quilts.
When news of the project got around to stake Young Women leaders, they offered to make and clothe 49 rag dolls that could be neatly tucked between the bed covers. Each doll is unique, as is each bed.
Bishop Stewart commented on the collateral blessings the ward enjoys.
"It has generated the best spirit of any special project we have ever had," he said. "Six months in the working has involved everyone, brought lots of satisfaction, taught new skills and developed friendships."
"It has brought the ward family together," said Cathy Rogers, ward Relief Society president.
Twelve of the doll beds have been given to a local children's shelter, 27 to Family Children's Services for distribution, and the remaining 10 to the Bishop's Christmas Store.