The women of Crafters for a Cause usually help their students learn to paint, but this summer the ladies decided to help people outside of the classroom.
Members Betty Baumach, Linda Hallock, Virginia Sweeney, Jane Del Prête, Kathy Sciacchitano and Martha Palermo recently donated a handmade dollhouse to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital to help fight breast cancer through its Fortunato Breast Health Center. The dollhouse will be raffled off at next year’s Families Walk & Run for Hope, an annual springtime fundraiser.
The women started building the roughly 2-foot-tall dollhouse in June. According to Baumach, a Lake Grove resident who leads the group, which meets at the New Village Recreation Center in Centereach, the volunteers teach people various forms of painting year-round — except during the summer.
“During the summer the teachers don’t teach,” Baumach said in a phone interview. “We still wanted to get together anyway so we said, ‘Oh, what could we do this summer to fill the time?’ so I suggested building a dollhouse.”
Baumach got the idea to donate the house to the Port Jefferson hospital because she brought her sick aunt to Mather in the past.
She had previously built five or six dollhouses, including this particular model of house, so drawing the plans was simple. Like all of Baumach’s dollhouse projects, it was made without a kit — the women designed and built each component by hand.
Until it is raffled off, the dollhouse will reside in the office of Cindy Court, the hospital’s development coordinator.
The eight-room house includes a living room, a dining room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a sewing room, among others. According to Court, the crafters brought individual boxes of furniture to decorate the house the day they donated it to the hospital.
“Each builder was responsible for decorating and furnishing one of the eight rooms,” Court said in an email. “They precisely [placed] each piece, down to the smallest detail.”
The group didn’t plan on furnishing the dollhouse until Sweeney found furniture on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Baumach provided the materials to build the house and was responsible for its exterior.
Court said the group used tongue depressors to make the roof shingles.
“I think it’s wonderful this group of women put so much time and love into this dollhouse and then donated it to Mather to help raise funds for the Fortunato Breast Health Center,” Dr. Joseph Carrucciu, who specializes in radiology at the center, said in an email.
While Crafters for a Cause enjoyed giving back to their community, it remains to be seen whether the dollhouse will become an annual effort.
“I think this was a one-shot deal as far as dollhouses go,” Baumach said in a follow-up email interview. “But they are trying to convince me to do another next summer.”