By Sarah Read
Three-year-olds aren’t exactly known as the most giving people on the planet. “Mine!” is their typical mantra. Which is why I was so delighted to have my almost 3-year-old daughter take part in a local charity project at her level of understanding. United Bank in Rockford is hosting their 7th annual “Dress the Dolls for Christmas” program, in which donated dolls are dressed by the community and delivered to area children through the Family Gift Basket program at the North Kent Service Center. What’s more relatable to a 3-year-old than dolls?
Supplied by United Bank, the dolls can be picked up free at their Rockford location, 155 Marcell Drive, between now and November 2. Residents dress the dolls, either in store-bought outfits or hand-created clothes and accessories. The dolls must be returned to the bank by November 10, where they will be displayed and voted on. NKSC distributes the dolls to less fortunate children of the community for Christmas. This year, with an increase of families in need, 100 dolls need to be dressed for the cause.
I was surprised by how naturally the charitable side of my daughter emerged when she saw the dolls at the bank this week. “Look at that doll, mommy,” she said to me.
“That is a doll they will give to a little girl who doesn’t have any dolls,” I explained.
“But, it’s naked, mom.”
“Yes, it is. Would you like to dress that doll for a little girl who doesn’t have any dolls?”
Her eyes brightened, bigger than if I had told her the doll was for her. “Yeah! But, I don’t have any clothes she would fit in.”
“Well,” I said, “we could go to the store and get special doll clothes for her to wear.”
“Right now?!” the excitement was spreading from my daughter’s face to her entire body as she started to wiggle.
She picked a doll and we changed our plans to a trip to Michael’s craft store on Alpine. On the way, she sat in the back seat, explaining to her 10-month-old brother that the doll was not hers or his, they already had lots of dolls and toys at home. This doll was for a little girl who didn’t have a doll, and my daughter was genuinely thrilled to be a part of the giving. She thoughtfully chose the clothes and shoes, along with a small doll backpack and teddy bear, carried her items to the register and proudly thanked the cashier. Not once did she ask to keep the doll herself. “I’ll bet the little girl who gets this doll is going to LOVE it,” she announced. “That was so much fun!”
For our family, the lesson of charity is much more than just the act of almsgiving, it is a lesson of Christian love and agape, which, by definition is “the love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.”
Cost of outfit, along with accessories: $20. Value of lesson in charity, humanity, Christianity and selflessness: priceless.