Winchester — Lorene Russell’s doll collection grew Sunday. Russell, an avid collector from Winchester, more than held her own against other bidders at the 39th annual Doll Auction, a fundraiser for the Henry and William Evans Home for Children.
The auction, held at the Grafton School headquarters on Bellview Avenue in Winchester, raised more than $4,300 for the Evans Home, giving the young people served by the nonprofit a second chance at getting the foundation for a productive life.
The Evans Home in Winchester has provided shelter for abused, neglected, and homeless school-age children in the foster-care system since 1949. It also operates the Lloyd House, a residential transition program for high school graduates who are learning independent living skills.
Russell did more than her fair share of helping the Evans Home Sunday, buying the two most valued dolls at the auction for $1,175 and $1,100, respectively.
The $1,175 vinyl doll, prepared by Margaret Richardson of Winchester, took third place in the baby doll category during pre-auction judging — and Russell would not be denied.
“I collect dolls,” she said, adding that supporting such a worthy cause was an added benefit of her purchases.
Russell said she had no problem matching other bids on the grand prize winner — a porcelain doll of Betty Claus, a character designed to be Santa’s chief helper who has the list of toys wanted by the children at the Evans Home.
“I wanted the number one doll,” Russell said of the $1,100 figurine, which had been dressed by Marion Snyder of Winchester.
Evans Home Executive Director Marc Jaccard said the annual auction is a general fundraiser for his organization, providing money for the home while helping people connect to its worthy cause. He said the dolls for Saturday’s auction were donated by BB&T Bank-Blue Ridge, and Evans Home supporters took them home to prepare the dolls for the sale. “They come every year and pick up these naked dolls,” Jaccard said. “They take them home and spend their summers deciding what they want to do with them. Then they hand-craft these outfits.
“It’s amazing — each one has a different theme or personality.”
Jaccard said the auction, which featured both porcelain and vinyl dolls, generates far more cash for the Evans Home than individual out-of-pocket donations. He said some of the doll dressers came to the auction to see how their creations bolstered the nonprofit. “Then they can watch it grow into an even bigger donation than they could make on their own. That is exactly what happens,” Jaccard said.
Evans Home Board of Directors Chairman Wendell Dick said some collectors come to the auction every year, adding one or more new dolls to their collections each time. “We don’t really have that many fundraisers during the year, but this is one of the special ones,” Dick said. “The dolls are made by people in our community, and then they come and bid against them. We need that for our young people at the Evans Home, who basically deserve a second chance. “The young people who come there have been abused or neglected for whatever the reason, and we take them in and try to give them a second chance.”
— Contact Drew Houff at