(Photo | Courtesy of Touchmark)
The holiday spirit has been in full swing since October as Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village residents completed 45 handmade toys — 25 trucks and 20 cradles — crafted with love for children in need.
Marking their 10th year, the Touchmark woodworkers have made approximately 400 wooden toys over the past decade. Residents sand, paint and finish each item. Touchmark sewists make tiny quilts, pillows, mattresses, blankets and bedding for the cradles, and Touchmark purchases dolls to go with each one.
Residents Jack Keeney and Bob Ramsay spearhead the event each year, with planning underway months ahead. The work starts by connecting with Central Oregon Woodworkers members who build the toys. Keeney says, “Putting together and painting toys for foster children at Christmastime makes me feel good in that I am showing a child who may have nothing that someone loves them. Hopefully, it also shows that their situation is no fault of their own, and there are people in the world who care and are pulling for them as they mature.”
Nancy Schlangen, a Touchmark resident and co-founder of the Deschutes Children’s Foundation, adds, “It is rewarding for us at Touchmark to give our toys to deserving youth. For the girls, a cradle with a doll and quilt; for the boys, a dump truck or airplane. These are gifts made especially for each child, often the only new toy they have ever received. It means so much to them.”
Next week, the residents and woodworkers will present the toys to representatives from four agencies that have benefited from this annual labor of love. The toys’ ultimate destination — families served by CASA of Central Oregon, Head Start and Early Head Start, Healthy Families of the High Desert and MountainStar Family Relief Nursery.
Kimberly Brown, director of Head Start/Early Head Start, says, “It is always nice to see the families’ faces light up with joy to see a well-constructed handmade toy from someone who lives in their own community! We truly love to give these out each year and very much appreciate our partnership with Touchmark!”
The Deschutes Children’s Foundation has worked with Touchmark on this project since 2013. The Foundation is a centralized location for children and families from the Bend, Redmond and La Pine areas, where nonprofit partners provide essential services to 16,000 children and families each year.
Located along the Deschutes River, Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village is an award-winning retirement community offering a range of homes and lifestyles.