An unknown delivery man quietly comes into the Emergency Department at TAMC and hands over to the registration specialist a box of hardwood toys, about fifty handcrafted pieces of approximately 20 unique wooden shapes, all with tiny wheels and a burned ToyMakers logo on the bottom.  As quickly as he comes, he turns and is off on another mission to take more boxes of toy cars and trucks to other hospitals, rehab clinics, terminal care facilities, and homeless shelters all over Maine.

TAMC

Nurse Practitioner in TAMC’s Emergency Department Dale Gordon said, “The ToyMakers have been doing this for several years and it’s a wonderful gift for our littlest patients.  Their generous donation is greatly appreciated.”

The ToyMakers is an outreach of the First United Methodist Church, Bangor, where individuals make toys for children and provide them to hospitals and agencies who distribute them at no cost to the children. The toys are made from hardwood which is sanded smooth and left unpainted with no coating of any kind.  Wheels, axles, and non-toxic glue are paid for by donations and the ToyMakers donate their time and use of their tools and shop facilities.

The ToyMakers now provide over 10,000 cars and trucks per year to 38 hospitals from York to Fort Kent and to many other caring agencies.

In 2007, an article appeared in “Workbench” magazine about a group in Florida making toys for kids in tough situations.  The goal was to start chapters of The ToyMakers across the United States, supporting Ronald McDonald Houses and nearby agencies that care for children.  As a result of interest from the article, over 80 groups formed in North America in an attempt to meet the need for toys for kids.  The website www.theToyMakers.org describes the activities.

After discussions with the Florida ToyMakers group, Bangor started making wooden cars and trucks, giving them away to local hospitals and agencies.  Their mission has grown as they have added more hospitals and service agencies.  Officials of the The ToyMakers, Bangor, monitor Federal regulations regarding safety of toys for children and craft them accordingly.  The little vehicles are unpainted and non-toxic cyanoacrylate glue is used to attach the wheels.

In partial support of their ministry, The ToyMakers of Bangor are provided raw materials from the following wood products manufacturers:  JSI Store Fixtures, Milo, and Shaw & Tenney, Orono.  Casey’s Wood Products, Wiscasset, provides wheels and dowels at a significant discount.

The ToyMakers strive to bring quality toys, a simple toy car or toy truck, to children in need.  For more information, contact:  The ToyMakers, First United Methodist Church, 703 Essex Street, Bangor, ME 04401.