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Kiwanians transform police uniforms into comfort dolls

WORTHINGTON -- Members of Worthington's Early Risers Kiwanis Club recently teamed up with the Worthington Police Department to craft 37 comfort dolls out of old police uniforms.

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Front row, from left: Jeanene Townswick, Joanne Carlson, LeAnne Meyer and Priscilla Williams. Back row, from left: Brett Wiltrout, Nancy Hofstee and Loreena Luetgers. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Members of Worthington’s Early Risers Kiwanis Club recently teamed up with the Worthington Police Department to craft 37 comfort dolls out of old police uniforms.

WPD officers will hand out the small navy blue dolls - each equipped with a WPD patch - to children if they are traumatized, or in a stressful situation.

“When we go into homes, kids are scared,” said WPD Sergeant Brett Wiltrout. “When there’s a lot of stress and issues going on in the house, we give them teddy bears, Care Bears to hopefully make the situation a little better.”

Wiltrout came up with the idea after seeing a collaboration in December, when Early Risers Kiwanis members created 18 “hospital dolls” and donated them to the WPD, Nobles County Community Services and Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

He contacted Club Secretary Nancy Hofstee and asked if the Early Risers would be able to use the uniforms to make dolls.

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“It was a success last time, so we were happy to do it again,” Hofstee said.

Soon after receiving a batch of uniforms, club members got to work in what was a group effort.

Kiwanian Loreena Luetgers cut the uniforms out, while fellow members Hofstee, Jeanene Townswick, Joanne Carlson, LeAnne Meyer and Priscilla Williams all helped sew together and stuff each doll with materials donated by Kern Schwartz. Zuby Janssen, a Noon Kiwanis Club member, also helped sew about half of the dolls.

Club members on Thursday morning gave 37 dolls to Wiltrout, who took them back to the Prairie Justice Center for use.

“We’re thrilled to help the children,” Townswick said.

 

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