Hometown Heroes: The ToyMakers of New Port Richey

It has often been said, Christmas is for children,” and when you capture the look of wonder in a child’s eyes when they see bright, twinkling lights and, of course, jolly, old St Nick, you know in an instant this is true.

However, when a child is destined to spend Christmas in All Children’s Hospital in St Petersburg, or they have no chance of surviving to see Christmas at all, it becomes increasingly important to bring joy to that child, in any way possible. The prognoses can be devastating to families, and yet sick children are in need of a fun focus and an escape from their very scary, confined, sanitized worlds throughout the year, and especially at Christmas.

That’s where The ToyMakers of New Port Richey steps in! This amazing group of volunteers, comprised of dozens of individuals, has generously donated and dedicated their time to make brand-new, wooden, brightly-colored toys to share with children in hospitals, the Ronald McDonald House, and other local agencies throughout Tampa Bay and around the world.

Jim McCullaugh founded ToyMakers in 1982, when his grandchild was a patient at All Children’s Hospital in St Pete and didn’t have any toys to play with at Christmastime. He recognized a need and set a goal which is still honored to this day: to provide sick and needy children with toys for some happiness and smiles, if only for awhile.

President Bill Coccia explained, ”Our purpose is to put smiles on children’s faces, because they’ve been put into situations, through no fault of their own. We’re just trying to make them happy during their difficult time in the hospital or wherever they are.”

The ToyMakers is a not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization. As many as 90 volunteers donate their time and talents to tend to various jobs, in order to make tens of thousands of old-fashioned, wooden toys every year to distribute to children each and every quarter. 100% of every donation to the organization is used for materials like wooden wheels, dowel rods, paints, glue, equipment repairs, and numerous, miscellaneous supplies needed to construct eye-popping toys for youngsters in distress. Be it baby ducks, cars, or trucks, The ToyMakers makes it happen, and it’s all for the enjoyment of children!

The toys made are completely kid-friendly. They have no sharp edges, screws, nails or staples. Each is painted with child-safe paints. Since 1982, The ToyMakers has donated more than 350,000 toys to sick and needy children, primarily in the Tampa Bay area, but also to other countries through missionary and military friends.

As a non-profit, volunteers and donations are what have kept The ToyMakers lighting up children’s’ lives for nearly 25 years, one brand new, handmade toy at a time! If not for private donations and the help of so many compassionate volunteers, The ToyMakers would not have successfully remained in existence for all of these years.

If you have time on your hands, and you would like to help the organization by drilling holes, painting wheels, sanding, building, whatever suits you best, you are more than welcome to reach out to Bill or any of The ToyMakers volunteers. Getting involved is easy. You can work on-site in the workshop, or you can bring work home with you to complete at your own pace.

If you feel more inclined to donate money or resources, those, too, are always in short supply, and they are always welcome!

You are invited to learn more about The ToyMakers by visiting their website: www.toymakers.org. The organization is located at 9022 RT 52, in New Port Richey, and they serve sick and needy children throughout Tampa Bay, including Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. For additional information, call 727-376-4368, or 727-856-3401.


By Debra Taylor Tee | www.ItsYourHomeMagazine.com | 727-709-9541 | editor@itsyourhomemagazine.com

 

Presented By Debbie Dawson, RE/MAX Champions | www.YourHomeTampaBay.com | 727-710-0286 | debbie@yourhometampabay.com

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