WEST BRIDGEWATER — Seamstress Beverly Bates has crafted and donated nearly 300 dolls since 2017.
It’s a goal she made for herself after she turned 90. Instead of receiving gifts, Bates wanted to be the one to give to children in hospitals. She planned to make one doll for every year she has been alive.
“It gives me a reason to get out of bed,” said Bates, who is now 92.
This year she made at least 120 dolls — more than the 70 she was able to complete last year.
Bates said it is fun to sew throughout the day rather than watch television or do nothing. She said if all elderly ladies did something similar to what she does, it would make them happy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bates has mostly stayed home. She is at a higher risk from the virus due to her age and ongoing medical conditions, like cancer and infections.
This year, Bates had skin cancer on her cheek and nose that were removed. Previously, she had cancer on her forehead and nose.
Her time out of the home is limited to doctor appointments. Her children stop by to bring her groceries or to say hello.
The younger family members haven’t been able to visit, and Bates stays in touch with her son who lives in Florida through phone and video calls.
“We’ve been trying to keep her safe this year so we can have her for more years,” said Marcia Audyatis, one of Bates’ daughters who lives in Raynham.
Every year Bates puts the completed dolls on the two twin beds in her spare bedroom. Rows of sock monkeys, cats, bears and baby dolls sit ready to wrap and plastic to donate.
She said one monkey doll can take up to six hours to make.
Sewing as much as she does isn’t easy. The seamstress has arthritis in her fingers and an eye infection has made it difficult to see when she threads needles.
Bates’ daughters and family members help her find places to donate the dolls. So far, donations have been arranged for Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital and Morton Hospital’s emergency rooms and the Conway House, a homeless shelter in Middleboro.
Audyatis said some places are not accepting donations to be from COVID-19, so that may be a challenge to find homes for Bates’ dolls.
Bates likes to remain anonymous to the children who receive her dolls. She would rather they think the doll came from Santa Claus.
Staff writer Mina Corpuz can be reached by email at email@example.com. You can follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.