A tiny army of master craftsmen, tinkerers and toymakers, with the help of AnglicareSA, are changing little lives right across the state this Christmas.
They are called the Toy Boys and their magic cave of toy making tools in Adelaide’s western suburbs this year has delivered close to 500 meticulously crafted traditional wooden toys for children in need.
The toys – including trains and ride-on rocking horses – were just recently donated by the Toy Boys to eight separate charities, including AnglicareSA.
In the next few weeks, the toys will be delivered from AnglicareSA’s emergency assistance hub in the city to families making the difficult choice of paying the rent or placing gifts under the Christmas tree.
“We volunteer our time to do this because we want to be able to provide for young people who don’t have anything at Christmas,” says Toy Boys workshop team leader John Cook.
The Toy Boys were formed in 1992, when the late Ron Bettinson, a member of the Rotary Club of Charles Sturt Grange, began making toys in his shed at home. The group soon rapidly expanded and moved to a larger factory space in Woodville.
The Rotarians and other volunteers are now operating out of the former Charles Sturt Council depot in Henley Beach, handmaking an array of toys that could rival Santa’s Workshop – everything from trucks, and cars to mix-masters, cradles and pull along animals.
“We start with the pilot model,” John says, explaining the Toy Boys’ process. “And then, when everyone in the team is happy with that toy design, we recreate it exactly the same each time.
“That way we know each toy is of the highest standard.”
The Toy Boys also make beautiful, wooden Memory Boxes for children and young people attending our Star Bear camps. These camps create a safe space for families, whose lives have been shattered by the loss of a loved one, to share their experiences, and to help support their grief.
AnglicareSA Emergency Assistance coordinator Jill Rivers says the donation of toys from such a community-spirited group goes a long way towards addressing making sure the spirit of Christmas remains alive for all South Australian children.
“We collect these amazing creations from the Toy Boys, and they are given to some of our smallest customers at a time of year when it is most needed,” Jill says.
“Over the years, the Toy Boys have helped create so many smiles and happy memories and we can’t thank them enough.” This year, AnglicareSA has experienced a 20 per cent surge in demand for its Christmas hampers, as cost of living pressures stretch already limited budgets over the festive period.
To help those in need through AnglicareSA’s Christmas Appeal click HERE.