Verbena woman doles out dolls for Operation Christmas Child

Published 5:18 pm Monday, October 31, 2011

Judy Perkins of Verbena is going above and beyond her usual “call of duty” this Christmas for “Operation Christmas Child,” a program of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.

For years, Perkins has helped fill shoeboxes that Samaritan’s Purse ships to needy children around the world at Christmastime.

Judy Perkins and her grandson show off some of the dolls she made.

This year, she is actually making special dolls she calls “Perky Dolls” to go inside the boxes, which are sent out from Atlanta.

“It started back in the spring of the year when I realized that I was not going to get to go to Atlanta to work at the warehouse,” Perkins said. “I wanted to do something extra besides just filling a box.”

Perkins exceeded her goal of making 100 dolls. She currently has 135 finished, and she has until the week of Nov. 14-20 to make as many dolls as she can for this year’s donation.

“The Lord brought it together,” Perkins said. “It’s just been a learning process.”

Perkins said the “Perky Dolls” idea came to her in prayer after she struggled to find dolls or stuffed animals that would fit in a shoebox.

She already had lots of colorful material from years of sewing reversible jumpers for children, and many of her friends have since donated buttons, yarn for hair and stuffing.

“The hardest part is the hair,” Perkins said, laughing.

She sews every single doll herself. At the heart of her “Perky Doll” operation is Perkins’ favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 61:10, which says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

Perkins’ dolls come in two forms: “Joyful JoJo” and “Jewels JuJu.”

The local collection center for Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes is the Church at Bethel in Thorsby.

For more information on donating a shoebox gift, visit or call headquarters at 1-800-353-5949.