97-year-old woman has made handcrafted collage books for SVdP kids for years

Dream Center students love receiving Dorothy Crane's books, now through SVdP's drive-thru

One of the wonderful experiences of St. Vincent de Paul is the everyday, ordinary people who demonstrate incredible depths of kindness to help others in their community through their gifts and talents. 

One such person is Dorothy Crane, who has long sent packages to SVdP but only recently introduced herself in a letter. 

Dorothy regularly ships an assortment of her handcrafted collage books to SVdP. They go to the children who visit the nonprofit’s Dream Center, which offers educational support alongside the Family Dining Room nightly meal service. 

Currently both the dining room and the center operate out of SVdP’s drive-thru since the start of the pandemic. Dorothy’s books have not only been one of the regular things the kids can still count on, but also have been helpful given the to-go model of meals and activity kits for the children.

“The kids just love them,” said Cindy Bernardo, who oversees the drive-thru and activities. “Each book is so creative and thoughtful, and every one of them is different and unique. I think the kids love that and get inspired by the designs.”

Dorothy has been sending the handcrafted books for as long as Cindy has been with SVdP. 

“They’ve arrived all four years that I’ve been here and way beyond, from what I understand,” Cindy said. “We’re just so thankful.”

While she’s never met Dorothy, she hopes to one day thank the woman in person who she and the kids can always count on for a little inspiration.

What started as Dorothy's desire to put her crafting talents to good use for her community became a St. Vincent de Paul tradition for the children who learn, play and grow through the nonprofit's educational Dream Center. Maybe we don't all have time or talent to intricately design books, but what if we each seized our desire to do good — even in this singular moment — to help open the world of imagination to the children of the families served by SVdP?

 Donate today to our Dream Big campaign and your gift will help support the Dream Center's activities that expand children's minds, experiences and aspirations while also providing them a hot meal.