Helping The World, One Barbie At A Time

Carol Chang
Wednesday - November 17, 2010
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Kahala volunteer Gerre Scott with her vast collection of used-but-reborn Barbies and pals. They go on sale Saturday at Central Union Church’s thrift shop. Photo by Leah Friel, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The needs are many, and hands are willing at churches all over the island. But whoever thought that Barbie dolls from Kahala could play a role in helping the poor and feeding the hungry?

That’s what Gerre Scott believes, and she has an army of spiffed-up dolls ready to do their part. Over the years, the retired Punahou teacher has greeted dozens of tiny blond babes as they come through her comfortable, older Kahala home on their way to Central Union Church’s thrift shop shelf.

She and her granddaughter Shayna, 12, reconditioned about 60 of them last summer. “We gave them baths, did their hair,” Scott said. “They definitely needed cosmetic spa-like treatment. We even pierced their ears.

“My son asked what we were doing, and we said, ‘We’re playing dolls!’ “

The glamorous collection of donated, scrubbed-up castoffs will be on sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the shop, located at the corner of Punahou and Beretania streets.

Also featured each Saturday and Wednesdays until they sell out will be polished-up donated Hot Wheels for little boys.

And shop manager Harry Price is grateful. “It’s not a very big shop, but it’s loaded with stuff,” he admitted.

He’s proud of the heirloom jewelry and exquisite furnishings and fashions that come in. But big or small, it all goes to fund missions and out-reach, such as feeding 1,500 homeless each month at Stadium Park and CUC’s Family Promise service to homeless families, to name just two.

“There’s also this guy who comes in - outside of our ministry - and only wants the Barbie dolls,” Price recalled. “He buys them and takes them to the beach and finds children to give them to.”

Price noted that Scott is one of about 30 lady volunteers who report regularly to help out at the shop. Each has a specialty in his tightly organized thrift shop world. To join in the fun, call 440-3055.

Many other East Oahu residents assist at the shop, including Elsie Tuttle (since the 1970s), Joan Rodby, Helen Sato and Carolyn Winston.

Scott also makes sandwiches for the church’s meal outreach at the park and thinks Family Promise is “the best thing we’re doing right now.”

But her kuleana seems to be of the Barbie-and-Ken variety - turning discarded has-been celebrities into cash for charity while providing some happy playtime for little girls in the community.

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