((Left) (L-R) Touchmark residents Jack Keeney, Susan Barr and Gerry Flake work on finishing toy airplanes for holiday gifts. This is the ninth year that residents of the retirement community have created wooden keepsake toys for children who may otherwise not receive gifts (Middle) Central Oregon Woodworkers build and deliver the wooden toys to Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village. Shown from the left working on the cradles are John Ross, John Barr and Dave Swierkos (Right) Marilyn Will (left) and Doris Grossman are two women from Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village who quilt and sew tiny quilts, pillows, mattresses, blankets and bedding for the toy cradles. Touchmark purchases the dolls | Photos Courtesy of Touchmark at Mount Bachelor)
The holiday spirit is already in full swing in Central Oregon as residents of Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village put the finishing touches on 50 handmade toys crafted lovingly for children in need. Once finished, the toys will be given to four area nonprofits that are part of the Deschutes Children’s Foundation and be distributed to local families.
“This is the ninth year 25 men and women living at Touchmark have created handcrafted, heirloom-quality gifts for local children who otherwise might not have any gifts during the holidays,” says Touchmark Life Enrichment/Wellness Coordinator Janet Kean. Kean has worked with the residents for eight years.
Residents Bob Ramsay and Jack Keeney have been central to the success of this annual effort from the beginning. This year, Ramsay and fellow resident Jim Levin headed up the finishing of 25 cradles, and Keeney oversaw the 36 airplanes.
“Working with members of Central Oregon Woodworkers, who build the toys, is a real joy and puts everyone in the holiday spirit before fall even gets underway,” says Ramsay. The team typically begins the planning months ahead in anticipation of the building, finishing and delivery of the toys.
Residents sand, paint and finish each item. Touchmark quilters sew tiny quilts, pillows, mattresses, blankets and bedding for the cradles, and Touchmark purchases dolls to go with each one.
“It’s definitely a heartwarming labor of love involving many people,” says Keeney. “It represents the true spirit of the season.”
In early December, the residents will finish the toys and wrap them for their 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.
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.
Amy Ward, executive director of the Deschutes Children’s Foundation, says, “It’s an honor to help Touchmark residents and Central Oregon Woodworkers distribute these special toys to families in need of something special for the holidays. Every year our partners share wonderful stories of joy and delight from the recipients. This partnership demonstrates how well our community works together and cares for those in need.”
Kim Brown is the director of NeighborImpact Head Start and Early Head Start programs and agrees wholeheartedly.“We are so honored to get these wonderful, handmade toys for our children impacted by poverty. For many children, this is likely the nicest gift they will receive all year. We thank everyone involved for their compassion and investment of time in support of our children and families.”
Located along the Deschutes River, Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village is an award-winning retirement community offering a range of homes and lifestyles.