One of the main reasons that we believe in giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is because of the presents that were given to Jesus by the Wise Men.
Mike and Judy Sullivan have been making toys in the workshop of their home in Desert Hot Springs, California for the last 7 years and donate them to local charities to be given out during the holiday season.
They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and have been churning out toys after witnessing the yuletide happiness their handmade playthings bring to the local families.
Mike, a 72-year-old, 26-year army vet, and Judy signed up for a woodworking club which has become a hobby for them now. Mike is in charge of toy production while Judy handles decoration and quality control. All their 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren are testers and focus groups.
Mike Sullivan grew up in Montana where his dad was a miner and their family didn’t have a lot of money. As his elder brothers were both carpenters, so his Christmas presents were mostly homemade. “Most of the things I got were handmade toys. They were wonderful toys, I know how much I enjoyed them and just hope that kids that get them now still do,” he said.
Mike and Judy created and distributed almost 1,400 toys that included animal figures, puzzles, and trucks they created in this pandemic year to bring happiness and smiles to the faces of children during the holiday.
The Sullivans’ toys were donated to a local kindergarten class, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, a food pantry, and other charitable organizations absolutely free of charge including postage for toys sent out of state as far as Indiana and Texas.
To cover the costs estimated to be $19,000 last year, the Sullivans launched a GoFundMe page to help them keep making toys. Mike’s hoping to purchase a 3-D laser printer so he can kick production into a higher gear. The elderly couple plan to continue making toys as long as they can.
“We’re both in good health and are able to be out here six to seven days a week for eight to 10 hours,” Sullivan said. “It’s so much fun, it feels like home here in the shop working things out,” Mike says they have rarely been there to see the kids faces as they receive their gifts, but the fact that a family’s Christmas will be much merrier is worth the effort.
“It makes me feel very very warm inside. I love it,” Judy said. “I wouldn’t change anything for the world.”