Tracey Dearing reports:
The Toymakers of Living Choice Kawana Island have been busy this year, preparing for the Annual Toymakers’ Handover.
Together with the Craft Group, the Toymakers created a record number of toys this year - over 220 toys - which were made up of aeroplanes, cars, trucks, cradles, cots, push toys, teddies, dolls and prams. The toys have been donated to St Vincent de Paul, for distribution to children in need.
There was a huge turnout for the handover, which was held in the village’s leisure centre on Friday 25th November. Several special guests attended, including State MP Jarrod Bleijie, who generously donated $250 each to the Craft Group and Toymakers, Buddina State School Principal, Russell Thompson, St Vincent’s de Paul President, Kareen Dwyer, local Councillor, Joe Natoli, and Sam Kirby from Kirby Fine Timber, who has generously donated the timber to the Toymakers for the past five years.
At the handover, Village Manager, Russ Dunstan, took the opportunity to present a cheque for $2,000 on behalf of Living Choice, to assist the Toymakers and the Craft Group to purchase materials.
The Toymakers comprise residents George Humeniuk, Barry Legg, Don Lindsay and David Fleming, who work, on average, 15 -18 hours per week, along with the other Toymakers in the group, Danny Wise, Patrick McMaster and Brian Jones.
Some men come into the workshop almost every day, like George Humeniuk. George will be 86 in three months and said” I love to showcase the natural timber of each toy, but we add the colour to the toys for the effect as well”.
There are other residents who donate their time and make items too. Nanette Black and Joan Harris are just two of these special helpers who spend time making mattresses, pillows and coverlets for the toys.
David Thomas, Chairperson of the Residents’ Committee, was the MC for the night and introduced John Sutton, who started the Toymakers’ group and still helps when he can. Janne Bernhard from the Craft Group presented cheques totalling $2,000 each to Buddina State School Principal, Russell Thompson and St Vincent de Paul President, Kareen Dwyer. A third cheque will be given to The Board Meeting Surf Charity. The money was raised by the Craft Group throughout the year, including at the recent Christmas Craft Fair.
Russell thanked Janne and said the money would go towards helping needy families purchase school resources. Kareen accepted the cheque gratefully and said the donation would go into a special fund that helps provide school shoes for families who have relocated to the coast, or foster care families who need to provide for their foster children.
Joe Natoli and Jarrod Bleijie also said a few words of appreciation on the night.
Lorna Whittle was the very happy winner of the craft raffle which was a beautiful painting donated by Beverly Spencer and painted by her late husband.
At the end of the night, all the toys were packed up and loaded on the St Vincent de Paul truck and will be distributed to families in Yarraman, Kingaroy and Murgon. No doubt, they will bring much joy to children this Christmas.