Fashion Students Donate Pillow Dolls to Ronald McDonald House

It’s Valentine’s Day and what better way to cheer up the children and their families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley than to surprise them with a basket full of colorful pillow dolls.

Five students from the SWBOCES Fashion Design & Merchandising Program at the Center for Career Services in Valhalla hand delivered the adorable items to the facility Feb. 13 in advance of the holiday. 

The Ronald McDonald House is located next door to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and provides a temporary home-away-from-home for families with critically ill children who are being treated at the nearby hospital. Many of them are either premature babies or youngsters suffering from cancer or other life-threatening conditions.

After dropping off the dolls, aptly given fun names like Edgar, Gopi, Boop, Tootsie, Jeffry and Mr. Fancy, the students, along with instructor Carmen Galiano and BOCES Supervisor Orande Daring, were taken on a tour of the facility.

The two-story house includes 12 bedrooms, each with a bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, a play room and lounge area. 

Each family is given its own cabinet for food supplies as well as refrigeration space.

The weeks-long project was the students’ first sewing assignment, with all of the machine-stitched dolls made with very young children in mind, explained Ms. Galiano. They were made from felt material, and contain no choking hazards such as button eyes, she said.

Ms. Galiano said the class was inspired by the UGLYDOLL brand, a line of plush toys that was developed several years ago. She felt they were suitable for the children because they are soft and appeal to both genders and all ages.

“This is like fashion with love,” said Ms. Galiano. “It was something we really believed in, and we were happy to do it.”