Mr. Doane, 21, of Bowling Green was one of many area residents who donated their time and talents during Owens Community College's Charity Week to make dozens of pillowcase dresses for Haitian children.
Several activities, such as creating knot fleece blankets for the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D., or making inspirational cards for residents of nursing homes in northwest Ohio, highlighted the first Charity Week at the college.
Held last week in the Student Health and Activities Center, the outreach event was coordinated by the college's Student Activities Office. Owens is on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township.
Organizers hoped to have on hand at least 80 pillowcase dresses by the week's end.
Owens' Department of Fine and Performing Arts partnered with the College's Student Activities Office on the pillowcase dress project.
"The dresses are just darling, They are super cool and they're all green," said Bianca Marcia, assistant costume designer in the college's theater department. Green as in Earth-friendly recyclables. "It's all about taking something old and giving it rebirth."
Vintage pillowcases in solid colors, floral prints, plaids, and stripes were used to make the dresses, and event organizers purchased inexpensive thread, ribbon, and decorative materials at thrift stores. Some materials, as well as pillowcases, were donated.
Ms. Marcia took the project beyond the campus to a concert setting last weekend where the dresses, while being worn by her friends, were splattered with paint, Jackson Pollock-style, adding bold colors and more than a hint of whimsy and fashion flair.
And Thursday, several performers in the Toledo School for the Arts' Color Theory production will wear pillowcase dresses to draw more attention to the need for clothing and other items in Haiti.
Kerri Wilde, dance instructor at Toledo School for the Arts, said Color Theory, which features ballet and modern dance, "goes from black and white to technicolor," and more vibrant dresses are to be worn by dancers later in the show. Students in Mrs. Wilde's advance ballet class will wear the pillowcase dresses as well as a soloist. Splattered dresses will be featured in Better Together, the show's finale.
Color Theory will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday in Owens' Center For Fine and Performing Arts. Unless sold out, tickets will be available at the door.
Mrs. Wilde, director and choreographer for the production, hopes to generate interest in the pillowcase dress project and raise awareness about the need to reach out to others in the world.
She described the project as "wonderful," noting that it's been two years since a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, and in the disaster's aftermath, "They still need help. They still need supplies," she said. Pillowcase dresses can bring attention back to Haiti, she said.
When disaster strikes, people are bombarded with information, but then people tend to forget about ongoing needs in disaster areas, she said. "People forget what happened a year or two years ago," she said, noting that people need to be reminded to think about the world, not just their personal world.
With technology at hand, it's easy to go global with a computer keyboard while seated at the safety of a desk, she said. Such projects as pillowcase dresses get people thinking about physically doing something for others in the world, she said.
Owens Student Government President Brad Fields of East Toledo has volunteered to take the dresses to Haiti during a March 2-9 mission trip. He is a founder of a nonprofit group called Field of Dreams that mowed, planted, and irrigated three vacant city lots.
Mr. Fields, president of the Owens environmental club, is studying urban agriculture and landscape design. He's not certain yet what work he will be doing while in Haiti, but hopes it is related to his efforts to create community gardens in East Toledo. "We've been taking pieces of land and we turn them into something," he said. "We need to get back to the soil. We need to get back to taking care of ourselves."
Area residents who took part in Charity Week showed how people can give back, Mr. Fields, 31, said. "It's all about giving back and helping others. Doing good stuff is always awesome," he said.
Reaching out to help others was the key reason Mr. Doane, a theater major, volunteered to make pillowcase dresses. "It's a good thing to do. It's a good project," he said in between receiving assistance on the dresses from Nicole Lance, Student Activities' assistant.
Photographs of Charity Week participants were attached to a large red paper heart, a Valentine of sorts to those who supported the outreach. "When all the photos are on there, it will almost look like a heart that is beating," Ms. Lance said.
Other completed Charity Week projects, including greeting cards, will be delivered to community groups and organizations throughout the spring semester.
One of the cards was made by student Robin Watson, 46, of North Toledo during a break in her studies in health information management. "That's beautiful. That's just beautiful," she said as she learned about the outreach efforts.
She was glad she could participate in Charity Week. With her schedule, "I rarely get a chance to interact with Student Activities," she said as she decorated her handmade card for a resident in a nursing home. "I know what it's like to be lonely. My mother died when I was 19 years old. I feel lonely and if someone sent me a card it would mean so much to me. If I was to get a card, it would brighten my day."