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Woodcrafters Club Delivers Handcrafted Toys to Bay Area Kids

The club, which was founded 32 years ago, has made toys for children in need for decades, members say.

Children in need around the Bay area will get a special treat this holiday season: handmade wooden toys made by local craftsmen.

Tom Whittington of Land O’ Lakes and other members of the Woodcrafters Club of Tampa delivered about 1,600 toys last week to organizations such as Metropolitan Ministries, Salvation Army and Hope Children’s Home.

The club is “32 years young,” Whittington said. “It started with four guys in the parking lot of a church.”

Those men were waiting for Meals on Wheels packages to deliver. In casual conversation, they discovered they all shared a common passion for woodworking, Whittington said.

"They decided it would be fun to get together and share ideas. The first big idea was to make wooden toys to donate to the needy in that church,” Whittington said.

Decades later, the tradition continues, with multiple Bay area organizations benefiting from the club members’ efforts.

Most of the toys are wooden cars, 2012 committee chairman Richard Stewart said.

Other items include dolls, puzzles and purses for the girls.

About half of the club’s members contributed to the cause this year, with some making a few items and others making hundreds of toys, Stewart said.

“Our biggest need is to find toys for girls that we can produce,” Whittington said.

Ideas are welcome, Whittington said, and anyone interested in joining the club can attend an upcoming meeting.

Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. For more information, visit the club’s website at tampawoodcrafters.org.

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