Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church’s men’s club spent about 3,000 hours cutting, sanding, painting and assembling almost 200 wooden toys for children in the region. Monday afternoon, Jim Stouffer, one of the men in the club who churned out the wooden toys in the span of about 10 months, donated 110 of them to the hospital so they can be gifted as presents to patients on Christmas.
All the designs have moving parts. One toy is a gorilla that can be tugged along on a string and another is a duck with wings that flap when it’s pushed around on the ground.
“It has definitely been a labor of love for the children here at Niswonger Hospital,” Stouffer said. “I think anytime you can do anything for children, it’s just an unbelievable benefit, both for the person (giving) and for the person receiving the toy.”
The club donated 110 of the toys to Niswonger, 47 to the Boys and Girls Club, 21 to the Haven of Mercy and 19 to the Southern Appalachians Ronald McDonald House. Stouffer said the men’s club was looking for a project, and since several craftsmen are part of the club, they decided making toys were the way to go.
While the whole men’s club had their hands in the project, Stouffer said it took about six people to do all the cutting, sanding, painting and assembling to get the toys ready for the holidays. Earlier this year, Stouffer said he brought a couple of toys to the hospital to see the reaction to them, and Child Life Program Manager Amanda Ward said they were a big hit because of their uniqueness.
“There’s so much nostalgia behind these toys, we’ve been able to hand a couple out from previous donations and kids just gravitate toward them,” she said Monday. “Electronics have their attention nowadays, but it was interesting to see how many kids gravitated toward these because there’s just nothing else like them on the toy shelves.”
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