St. Thomas crafts creative dollhouses for charity

Published 9:55 am Friday, June 5, 2009

They are not Santa’s elves, but they do have quite a workshop going in the parish hall at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church these days.

More than a dozen parishioners are volunteering their time and talents to the creation of handcrafted dollhouses.

Hand-painted details such as “hardwood” floors, curtains, a fireplace complete with glowing candle in sconces and a real mirror grace each dollhouse’s interior. The exteriors are adorned with leafy trees, colorful flowers and birds. “Send us a photo and we can even add your dog or cat into the picture,” said Frances Frakes. Frakes, Mary Dearing and Lucy McGowin, compose the talented dollhouse detailing team.

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It’s all a painstaking labor of love for the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) as a means to raise money for the group’s numerous charitable projects.

“We make donations on a local, national and international level, but the majority of what we raise benefits the local community,” said member Judy Gettys.

Among those programs are Safe Harbor of Greenville; food baskets and the soup kitchen, distributed through DHR and the health department, and small scholarships given to area students in need.

“These scholarships help them buy that meal or cup of coffee; the sorts of things not covered by a regular scholarship or financial aid,” Gettys explained.

At Christmas, the ECW provides boxes for the local nursing home, and care packages through DHR including food, clothing and gift items for families.

“In addition, we give a donation to our rector’s discretionary fund, which allows him to assist those in need of help with utilities, rent, and so forth,” Gettys said.

ECW monies also go to the Transient Fund used by the police department to help travelers in need of aid.

Farther afield, contributions are made to the Episcopal Children’s Home in Mobile, which serves children from across the state and the international non-profit organization, “Food for the Poor.”

The dollhouses are selling for $250; for tax purposes, a portion of the purchase price can be considered a charitable donation.

For more information, contact Judy Gettys or Frances Frakes.

To see photos of one of the EWC dollhouses, visit the “Spotted” Gallery at and click on “St. Thomas Dollhouse.”