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This Toy Factory Gives Away All the Toys for Free

A long-haul truck driver recently walked into Tiny Tim’s Toy Foundation in West Jordan, Utah, and asked for a box of toys. Owner Alton Thacker gave him five boxes, each packed with 125 cars. Thacker said, “He stopped at children's hospitals along his truck route and handed them out. And I know he'll be back for more. Seeing all those little smiles is a great motivator.”

The simple wooden cars with a painted smile—are made at the factory and given free to children in need around the globe through charities, churches, and children’s hospitals. Thacker’s factory reached a huge milestone this year when he cranked out his 1 millionth toy. He said, “For some kids one of our little wooden cars is the first and only toy they'll ever get.”

The nonprofit organization turns out between 80,000 and 120,000 wooden toy cars a year. It uses a volunteer workforce with an average age of 80. A car is a simple thing but the impact is immense. Whether the child is in a hospital, tough neighborhood, or developing country, all kids react the same when they get the toy. They will drop to the floor and start “driving” them on the concrete, the tile, the dirt. The response of pure joy is always the same.

Most of the painting is done by inmates at the Central Utah Correctional Facility. Retiree Wade Bender, who delivers cars to the prison has noticed tears in the eyes of the felons, especially before the holidays. “They’ll tell us, ‘This is the first time I’ve done something for somebody else, thank you.’ Many of them are fathers. So they know what the toys they’re painting can do to boost the spirits of a child.”

On Christmas Eve, after the last box of cars is filled for a volunteer to hand out, Thacker says, “At the end of December, we’re tired. But our hearts are full. It makes me feel good to see the impact we’re making. I’ve always said that the secret of happiness is to make somebody else happy. So, after the New Year, we’ll start all over again.”

Source: Cathy Free, “This toy factory is run by volunteers who give away all the toys for free,” The Washington Post (12-11-18)

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