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How Salvation Army volunteers make sure every family can have happy holidays

Posted: 5:24 AM, Nov 02, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-02 06:58:19-04

CINCINNATI -- What Holly Flischel sews, she does with love. Along with hundreds of other Salvation Army volunteers, she helps create handmade outfits for over 600 dolls each year -- and donates those dolls, along with 600 teddy bears and 5,000 books, to families who need a little help to have a happy holiday season. 

"It's actually very heartwarming to see what's available," Flischel said. "You kind of leave there humbled that all of this is provided … so it's nice to be part of it."

Volunteers such as Flischel have been working to provide free holiday toys and books to Tri-State families for over 61 years, but doing so is expensive -- as little as $10 spent per doll creates a total cost of around $6,000. 

That's why, to keep the tradition going strong, the Salvation Army Toy Shop Auxiliary will hold an auction of 11 authentic American Girl dolls with handmade outfits. Thanks to contribution of Nancy Brown, wife of Bengals team president Mike Brown, some of the dolls even come with Bengals tickets.

Doors open at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Indian Hill. The live auction begins at 12:45 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

According to Flischel, these annual auctions usually raise around $20,000. It's a contribution that goes a long way, both to the Toy Shop Auxiliary and the people it helps.

"You leave distribution very tearful and realizing how fortunate you are," Flischel said. "You can provide for that family that they can't provide for themselves."