published Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Mother donates late daughter's doll collection to needy children fund


by Naomi Jagoda
Dolls fill the back of a vehicle Thursday afternoon. Cathy Saffel Crossen is donating a portion of her deceased daughter's doll collection to the Forgotten Child Fund.
Dolls fill the back of a vehicle Thursday afternoon. Cathy Saffel Crossen is donating a portion of her deceased daughter's doll collection to the Forgotten Child Fund.
Photo by Tim Barber.
  • More than 200 dolls donated
    Cathy Crossen donated more than 200 dolls to the Forgotten Child Fund, an organization run by local emergency personnel, which gives Christmas gifts to needy children.

April Saffel had collected dolls since she was little.

Even at 33, she didn't think she was too old to be collecting them, recalled her mother, Cathy Saffel Crossen.

Her daughter kept most of the dolls in their boxes so they wouldn't lose their value, Crossen said, and she loved to go to flea markets and hunt for items such as old Barbies.

In fact, Crossen said, on the day Saffel died, "she was raring to go to the flea market the next day."

Saffel died Feb. 11 after she overdosed on her prescription pain medication. Previously, one of her legs had been amputated because of an infection, and she had lost the use of the other.

To pay tribute to her daughter, Crossen donated 280 of the dolls in Saffel's collection to the Forgotten Child Fund, which provides Christmas gifts to needy children.

Volunteers from the nonprofit agency collected the dolls Wednesday morning from Crossen's house in Chattanooga.

"I think this is what she would want," Crossen said. "Some use will come out of these toys."

Among the ones donated were Barbie, Bratz, MyScene, Hannah Montana, Camp Rock and High School Musical dolls, Crossen said. She estimated the collection was worth $3,000 to $4,000.

Clay Ingle, spokesman for the Forgotten Child Fund, said he was touched by Crossen's donations.

"When I heard this story, it was heartwarming," he said. "I couldn't think of a nicer thing to do to pay homage to your daughter's life."

The fund probably will get toys for 7,000 children this year -- the highest number of children it has served in one Christmas since it started in 1965, Ingle said. Volunteers with the fund -- the majority of whom are firefighters, police officers and other emergency service personnel and their relatives -- buy many of the toys, but the fund also relies on donations of new or good-as-new products.

"We don't want any child forgotten Christmas morning," he said.

Crossen said the collection went well and she has no regrets about donating the dolls to the fund. In fact, she and her husband plan to spend Christmas Eve on the Santa Train -- when a parade with emergency vehicles, CARTA buses and a limo containing Santa Claus and a head elf goes to the homes of 10 needy families and delivers toys.

"I wish we could do more," she said.

HOW TO HELP

New or good-as-new toys can be donated to the Forgotten Child Fund at any Hamilton County EMS station or Chattanooga fire station. Additionally, they can be taken to the fund's toy store at 1715 E. Main St. in Chattanooga.

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JustOneWoman said...

This is great and all, but why is this breaking news?

December 1, 2011 at 9:58 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

It's "breaking news" because it's an unselfish act of kindness on the part of someone who wanted to honor their daughter and to show compassion for less fortunate children at Christmas.

An article I thought no one would question or wonder about at this time of year or in this terrible economy. An article I think that shows some one just simply wanted to help those less fortunate.

It's an article that shows kindness and sharing...something we don't see much of in this day and time.

An article I didn't think needed EXPLANING but guess I was wrong.

December 1, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Please do not mis-understand. I am not saying this story was not news worthy. I think it is great, as I mentioned earlier. It is a notable act of kindness, and you are right, the world needs more. But in the "in your face news" days, there is so much mis-labeling, twisting, and spinning, it would be nice if things were what they said. It is a fabulous thing she did. My sister and my daughter both donated their dolls years back. It was a very good thing, but I would not have expected it to be "breaking news".
Now, if we were to see a front page section for "Random Acts of Kindness", where we could share the many stories of the generous people of this area, that would be something, wouldn't it! That would be breaking news. But that doesn't sell newspapers.

December 1, 2011 at 2:14 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

What a thoughtful way to honor her daughter.

December 1, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.
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