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Grandma Do's take on charity

POULSBO — Carole Turek’s home is bursting with items from the past. Antique fans, hand-crafted lace and Victorian-era dresses adorn every corner, but soon, Turek is hoping to take the 12-year collection and share it with the community.

And ultimately, the world.

President of the newly-formed community assistance organization the Grandma Do’s (or G Do’s), Turek is taking the first steps in making Poulsbo the birthplace of an international service brand. The Grandma Do’s, which has been officially in planning for more than a year, is now ready to take on new members and spread its figurative wings.

“The idea of this is different,” Turek said. “It’s a charity where we answer the needs of the people in our own community, and if everyone does that, all communities will be able to answer their needs.”

Her plan consists of this: establish the Grandma Do’s as the eyes and ears of the Poulsbo community, keeping a radar out for any help they can offer while raising money by working with their hands, restoring and preserving heirloom pieces both for sale and to donate to kids without families of their own.

“Basically, we want to earn our way with our hands,” she said. “Just look what we can accomplish with our hands... It doesn’t matter if you’re talented or not. There’s a place for everyone.”

Eventually, Turek hopes to move the G Do’s into a donated Victorian house, where they would establish a historical museum, highlighting much of Little Norway’s and the country’s past. In the meantime, Turek and the G Do’s board have already planned a tea event at Martha & Mary, and are working on a Fourth of July event at Nelson Park for the summer. This weekend, the G Do’s will hold a garage sale to benefit their cause, and an auction, too, is in the works.

“I think we can do anything that we want to do,” Turek said. “The sky’s the limit. I’m ready to move into the first donated Victorian home. I have everything from the kitchen sink to the furniture.”

Turek said the group isn’t exclusively for grandmothers, as grandfathers, too, or anyone interested in helping restore antique items, can join in.

“We’ll show up at their doorstep with a rescued project and they can take as long as they want to complete it,” she said. “The more we involve the community, the better.”

Each person working on the vintage pieces becomes a member of the group — known as a bee — and sales from their handiwork go toward helping community causes and establishing the G Do’s brand. Bees can in turn start groups of their own, spreading the G Do’s work across not just one community, but as far as its members take it. Turek is currently working on a Web site where ideas for charity work can be listed, and donators can view where their money is being spent. All donations are tax deductible.

“It’s very exciting to think we have this right here in little old downtown Poulsbo,” said board member Jacquie Svidran, who said the downtrend of junk drawers filled with family collectibles is a sad one. “We’re a throw away world. I believe in what (Turek) is trying to create.”

Svidran said she believes the Grandma Do’s can change people’s outlook on keepsakes, and what their own personal collections can mean.

While Turek has laid out much of what Poulsbo can expect from the group, her hopes don’t end there. Looking down the road, she sees in the G Do’s future an international chain of community groups acting as good work and good will facilitators within their own towns, established museums of all types and perhaps even involvement with first ladies Laura and Barb Bush.

“The hardest part is done,” she said. “It has a life of its own. This is our history... I’m past being surprised. Now I know this cannot help but work.”

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