Cleveland, OH,
14:34 PM

The Giving Doll brings 120 new friends to children at MetroHealth

Our Mission is to give faith, love, joy, hope and comfort to children worldwide, at times of special need through the construction and distribution of handmade cloth dolls.
The Giving Doll

Thanks to a special group of volunteers, there are now 120 new friends for children at MetroHealth. 

These friends are handmade dolls, lovingly stitched by the volunteers at The Giving Doll.

The Giving Doll was started in 2006 by Jan Householder, the home economics teacher at Wadsworth High School, when she made a doll for a colleague's daughter, who was being treated for a brain tumor. After sending the doll to Katherine, who was at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, requests for more dolls came pouring in. Originally, founder Jan Householder planned on making a dozen dolls for the children at the hospital.

Today, over 49-thousand Giving Dolls have been gifted to children throughout the world. Some of them are hospitalized, others have been through a trauma.

All the materials, except for the body fabric and stuffing and some specialized embroidery equipment, are donated.

"God takes care of us and we want to take care of the kids," says Jan. 

It takes 8 hours to complete a doll. Volunteers work on one aspect of the doll, such as hair or an outfit, and then hand the doll off to the next volunteer. Faces are embroidered on to ensure that no little pieces or parts will break off. Their aprons all have pockets for children to place their written poems, wishes or hopes in. Each doll comes with a quilt and a tote and they are named by the women who sew them.

The volunteers at The Giving Doll range in age from 60 to 93 years old. There are sewing circles in 9 states.

The 120 dolls that were given to MetroHealth will go home with children who are in the foster care program and those who are hospitalized, like Reilly, who wanted a doll that looked like a princess. The group is planning on a delivery of dolls every month. 

You can read more about The Giving Doll here. 


About the MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit