Each Goodfellows box is stuffed with an array of books, warm clothing, dental kits, toys and candy, but since 1924, the carefully and imaginatively dressed dolls given to little girls aged 4 – 10 have brought the boxes real razzle-dazzle.
For 85 years, the devoted volunteer “courtiers” of the Detroit Goodfellows doll program have taken in their unclothed “clients,” devoting months to turning them out in the finest Paris copy. This year, volunteers will start working on their creations in late June so the dolls can be ready for their close-ups by mid-October.
The program thrives through local philanthropy. Each year, the City of Detroit and Comerica Bank dress over 1,200 dolls. This year, DTE Energy will dress 456 dolls, the Internal Revenue Service 480. Miller Canfield and Compuware will each dress 200 dolls.
Whether a corporation’s efforts dress 1,000 dolls or a single volunteer dedicates their time to giving one little girl a happier holiday season, the results are always magical. Long after a box’s candy is eaten and its clothes outgrown, the miniature princesses, pirates, rock stars and fire-fighters continue to shine as treasured keepsakes. Detroit City Councilwoman Martha Reeves still has two Goodfellows dolls from her childhood.
As the Goodfellows prepare to distribute 12000 dolls in 2009 artists, benefactors and recipients alike look forward to another year of creativity, generosity and fun. Anyone interested in helping the Goodfellows dress a doll for this holiday season can contact Sari Klok-Schneider at email@example.com