The Story of the Hope Doll

Late one evening in the early ’80s, while Jan Buechler was sorting through the boxes and bags of the daily donated items, a small doll fell out of one bag. Instantly the look on the doll’s face touched the hearts of those working. In the silence of the moment, everyone knew the doll would touch the hearts of the community.

Her dress was wrinkled, her hair a mess, and a stain on her face had once held a tear.  In doing some research on the doll, it was discovered that Hasbro manufactured the doll under the name, “Little Miss No Name”; however, Jan thought she needed a name.  She was given the name, Hope.

Hope immediately took her place on the set for the annual We Care telethon.  At the conclusion of the 1986 telethon, in one spontaneous act, she was the last item offered for bid. She was purchased and then unexpectedly returned the following year to be sold again. A tradition began which has established Hope as a special part of a community that shares its love and resources unselfishly.

A likeness of Hope has been featured on various artwork, coins, jewelry, and clothing. She has won the hearts of the community, but has been privileged to be held by just a very few.

 

Hope Donations Through the Years

1986 Larry & Betty McKinny $1,750
1987 Pete Hill $700
1988 Toby Hoffman $1,400
1989 (not returned) $1,650
1990 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman $2,100
1991 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman $10,500
1992 Bill Fortune
Thrifty Muffler
$17,500
$10,000
1993 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman
Plus Fortune Management Donated
$17,500
$28,000
1994 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman $25,000
1995 Chrysler Transmission & AVI Employees
Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman
$84,111
$25,000
1996 Chrysler Transmission & AVI Employees
Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman
$68,204
$55,000
1997 Chrysler Transmission & AVI Employees $50,754
1998 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman
Chrysler Transmission & AVI Employees
$17,500
$15,000
1999 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman
Chrysler Hope Fund
$25,000
2000 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman $5,000
2001 Dave McKinney $7,500
2002 Scot & Ginny DeLon $5,100
2003 Bill Flynn $15,000
2004 Rich & Sigrid Schwartz $25,000
2005 Rich & Sigrid Schwartz $25,000
2006 Jr. & Carolyn Zimmerman
Rich & Sigrid Schwartz
$5,000
$10,000
2007 Junior Zimmerman $8,000
2008 Junior Zimmerman $3,500
2009 Scot and Virginia DeLon $6,500
2010 Scot and Virginia DeLon
The Zimmerman family
$5,200
$5,000
2011 Scot and Virginia DeLon $3,000
2012 Scot and Virginia DeLon $6,000
Total Donations: $591,469