A Pocket Full of Treasure

Pillows Made with Love

By Priya Pratap

December 2015


Imagine coming to a foreign place, not knowing the culture, the language, the faces, or anything that reminds you of what your home once was. Now take that thought and place it into the mind of a refugee child. How terrifying, right?


Children need support to bring them comfort, make them feel like they belong, and let them know that people care about them especially while experiencing such an uprooting change.


Gloria Tufft is a wonderful woman who helps the children we resettle by making pillows for them. These pillows are thoughtfully crafted with handpicked, washable fabrics with each child’s gender and age in mind.


Gloria explains, “I imagine the child who finally has something of their own to hold onto. They know that someone thought about them, that someone made something just for them.”


Not only does she make the pillows so refugee children can have a possession of their own to hold onto, but she also stitches a secret pocket in every pillow with a surprise toy. She told us, “The pocket is a treasure. A hidden possession. It’s the idea that they have a little place of their own.” Gloria designs the pocket to help them feel like they have a place of their own.


Gloria retired from teaching kindergarten long ago and has sewn all her life, which has been an art passed down in her family for generations. Before working with Opening Doors, Gloria made seven hundred quilts and pillows for Opportunity House, about thirty quilts for the pilot Head Start program, and countless more for foster children in Paradise Oaks, CA.


She has reached an age where her hands are no longer steady and her vision is declining, making it more difficult to sew. Yet, she tells us that she still sews because it is not only a passion, but also a blessing.


Knowing that others care about you can make someone’s experience so much better in any context. Luckily, these children get to experience that with every Opening Doors volunteer and staff member who helps them along their journey.

Volunteer Now


Read other articles from December 2015:

A Helping Hand: Legal Services Aid Survivors' Road to Recovery

Year in Review: 2015