Doris Woffinden loved to make crafts. For years, Doris, along with sister, Sherry Cook, made items for boutiques. Their dolls, home décor items, sewn blankets and clothes were popular at local events.
When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started doing humanitarian projects, the sisters decided to shift their focus from crafts to items to make the world a better place in which to live. They coordinated their efforts with other groups engaged in helping African people with basic necessities. Doris eventually found herself traveling to Africa to deliver the hygiene and birthing kits, blankets and clothes for the people in Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia.
Doris teamed with “Mothers Without Borders” to make and deliver needed items to villages in these African nations. On several trips, her granddaughters went and helped deliver the boxes of goods to the people. After observing the extreme poverty of these kind, gentle, and loving people. the girls, Gracie, daughter of Mandy and Cody Gillen, Ivy, daughter of Jason and Jana Woffinden, and Emma, daughter of Mark and Stephanie Tuckett were determined to help.
The cousins planned and made items to sell for Christmas presents. They held a boutique in the Gillen home. The first year, the Gremvy (the name is the first two letters of each girl’s name) Boutique earned $500. They were thrilled at the result. The second year, more items were made. The girl’s mothers pitched in with projects of their own. The two-day event earned the girls $4,000. In the third year, the amount doubled and a donor matched what the girls earned. $16,000 has been collected to date.
The money earned in the three years of this endeavor was used to buy goats and chickens for families in Zambia. The money was also used to build additional classrooms for the local school. The school had originally eight classrooms, but with the financial help and local contributions of time and labor, eight more classrooms were added. Money was also used to provide a lunch meal and after-school tutoring classes so the students could learn English.
Julie Berry, a long-time friend and compatriot of Doris’, has been an integral part of this magnificent humanitarian effort. She commented, “There are 20 women who meet to tie quilts and sew clothing for the families in Africa. I turned my basement into a workshop and each Wednesday neighbors and ward members combine efforts to make newborn kits. To date 150 kits have been made. Diapers are being supplied by a former ward member, Annette Harris, who has engaged her Saratoga Ward members to donate.”
Doris passed away two years ago. Those who knew and loved her, continue her selfless service. She has passed her humanitarian passion to her daughters and granddaughters. The tradition of helping make the world a better place is alive and well in the hearts and hands of the Woffinden, Gillen, and Tuckett families.