October Toy Makers in the Spotlight

Tuesdays are a special day for many Toy Makers.  Not only do they get to brighten the life of a child but spend the day with long time friends. 

Bill, Cliff, Lee, or Buddy are our Over the Hill Gang Historians.  They have invested almost 20 years of their time and talents on behalf with the AWG Toy Makers. Thanks guys for your amazing contributions and the wonderful example that you have set for all of us.

August Toy Makers in the Spotlight

Both Danny and Marion say that the camaraderie with their fellow toy makers is one of the many benefits of showing up every Tuesday to build airplanes. But, it is not all fellowship. There may be just a little competitive edge regarding who can build the bigger biplane. All competition aside, they agree that what is really important is the joy that they receive knowing their planes will brighten the day of a child. Without Marion and Danny we would not have built over 8,000 toys since January of 2017.

AWG toys are distributed to Children’s Hospitals in Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, and Greenville, SC. Children in homeless and domestic violence shelters and community programs in the greater Birmingham area benefit from our toys, too.

July Toy Maker in the Spotlight

When you join the Alabama Woodworkers Guild you soon realize you have joined folks that believe in sharing their skills with the community. One of those folks is Tom.

Tom is one of the star volunteers in AWG Toy Group. Tom became a guild member in 2009 and immediately joined the Tuesday toy maker. He rarely misses a Tuesday producing 16 Bird houses every week. Consequently, we just call him Bird House Man.

Tom says what keeps him making toys is knowing he helps to put a smile on the face of a child who is having a very tough day. Also, his volunteerism keeps his hands, eyes and mind exercised while he has a lot of fun.

2016 End of Year Report

Well the best laid plans etc.!  Apologize for not providing the expected monthly updates but things just got crazy.  Happy to report that the November General Guild Meeting was a success and we were very fortunate to have several of our Toy Recipient Partners with us that day.

The Toy Group made 10,644 Toys last year!  That was an increase from the previous year even with picking up more complex toys to make.  Below are just a few of the photos we received this year from Children’s of Alabama and our new partner: the YWCA of Central Alabama.

This will be my last posting as the Toy Chairman.  It has been a great and rewarding “tour” as your Chairman!  It has been my honor and pleasure to work along side such a Talented Group of Woodworkers!! Thank you!

July Update #2

Just to share our July results.  Year to date, we have created 7,588 toys!  We have distributed 4,666 of those; over 100 to American Village in Montevallo, AL; about 2000 to Children’s of Alabama; over 450 to Children’s Hospital at Tristar Centennial in Nashville; over 200 to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta – Egleston; over 100 to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta – Scottish Rite; over 1600 to Greater Birmingham Ministries; over 100 to Kid’s Connection, a ministry of the Dawson Family of Faith here in Birmingham; and close to 200 to Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  Hopefully we’re bringing hope and joy to children of all ages across the southeast!

Over the Hill Gang: Who we are, what we do

First to clarify.  The Over the Hill Gang refers to a location not a particular age!

According to Wikipedia: “Red Mountain lies immediately south of downtown. Many of Birmingham’s television and radio broadcast towers are lined up along this prominent ridge. The “Over the Mountain” area, including Shades Valley, Shades Mountain and beyond, was largely shielded from the industrial smoke and rough streets of the industrial city. This is the setting for Birmingham’s more affluent suburbs of Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and Hoover. South of Shades Valley is the Cahaba River basin, one of the most diverse river ecosystems in the United States.”

Now that is out of the way, every Tuesday a talented group of Guild Members gather at the Woodworkers Education Center (WEC) in Maylene, Alabama for fellowship, coffee, and more to the point craft fine wooden toys.  Donated wood is milled and sized for particular projects and everyone pitches in with drawing out, sawing, sanding, drilling, sanding, router edges, sanding, gluing and sanding a multitude of toy projects.   These toys are then delivered to Children’s Hospitals and Community Ministries in Birmingham, Atlanta and Nashville.

The OTHG is open to any Guild Member and gathers at the WEC every Tuesday from 9am to 2:30pm so come on out and join us.  Don’t forget to pack a lunch, we like to sit around the kitchen table family style and “chew the fat” so to speak.

Enjoy a sampling of our Toys:

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July Update

The summer heat has not slowed down the “Over the Hill Gang” and as of mid-July, they have crafted 6768 toys for our Kids!

Back in May, we established a new relationship with the Vanderbilt Medical Center’s Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital in Nashville.  This gives us two locations in the Nashville area, including The Children’s Hospital at Tristar Centennial, and twice the number of kids we can bring smiles to!

The group has also received a request from the American Village to craft the legendary “Brown Bess” musket, the rifle used most by both American and British forces during the American War of Independence.  To date we have delivered about 20 replicas to American Village.  We continue to “fine-tune” our crafting methods to improve both the appearance and the build time of the muskets.

Watch this space in coming weeks we’re considering a Toy Maker in the Spotlight to showcase craftsmen and women of the OTHG!

June Update

The wood chips have been flying on Tuesdays at the WEC. In the first five months of 2016, the Toy Group has produced over 5,100 toys. Congratulations to the Over The Hill Gang!