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GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (CBS) — It’s not Santa’s workshop, but it’s a lot closer.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports, the DuPage Woodworkers Club began making handmade holiday toys for good boys and girls six years ago.
“The first two years, we weren’t very successful,” said Stan Anderson. “We had about 50 or 60 each year.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
That didn’t suit Anderson, who mentioned the low output to the club’s president. In turn, president Bill Hochmuth promptly made Anderson the club’s toy czar.
Production reached 950 a year ago.
For this holiday season, Anderson instituted four “Toy Days.” Hochmuth says the assembly-line style focus was fun, and productive.
“We learned as we went. We did over 400 toys in the last two toy days, just because we learned how to produce them; how to run the production line, so to speak,” Hochmuth said.
They finished with nearly 2,600 toys.
The biggest beneficiary is St. Theresa’s parish in Kankakee, which will get more than 1,200, because of a sharing arrangement with St. James the Apostle Church in Glen Ellyn, where the Woodworkers meet.
Deacon John Moeller couldn’t believe what he saw.
“I have to admit that I am just absolutely stunned,” he said.
There are wooden trucks, cars and planes…and crayon holders shaped into whales and turtles. Anderson makes the patterns and supplies the wheels and axles where needed.
Everything is sanded smooth so there are no sharp edges. The toys are bare wood, to keep children from ingesting flaked paint.
Anderson says for many, these toys are the only ones they’ll see this holiday season.
“Every kid deserves a grandpa who can make toys, and that’s what many of us feel like,” he said. “We feel really, really good.”
The Woodworkers display much more than toys during their meetings, at 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month. They also produce handmade furniture, bowls and more.