The ToyMakers of East Lake’s Open House and Silent Auction was a Success!

Published on 11 December 2015 in News
Julie Kanehl (author)

Julie Kanehl


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ToyMakers of East Lake has wonderful volunteers who love what they do, contributing a combined 15,000 volunteer hours this year!

ToyMakers of East Lake has wonderful volunteers who love what they do, contributing a combined 15,000 volunteer hours this year!

The ToyMakers of East Lake are group of jolly elves of all ages that work together year round in their toyshop. Why? For the same reason that Santa’s elves do their work; the happy smile of a child. Of course, the ToyMakers of East Lake focus on children who may need a smile more than the average bear. They make and donate their handmade wooden toys to hospitals, fire stations and clinics all over Tampa Bay. 
 
Current President and Head Toy- Maker, Bob Helms, said, “This year Toymakers of East Lake will serve over 12,000 children with hand-made wooden toys and contribute over 15,000 volunteer hours.” 

Neighborhood News & Lifestyles’ Julie Kanehl (with her daughter) came away with a winning bid for a Lazy Maguro gift certificate

Neighborhood News & Lifestyles’ Julie Kanehl (with her daughter) came away with a winning bid for a Lazy Maguro gift certificate


 
As a completely non-profit organization, the ToyMakers of East Lake hold an annual Open House and Silent Auction to raise money for their toyshop, and as always, it’s a great opportunity for people to learn how they can become a ToyMaker too! Held on November 7th, this year’s event was a complete success! 
 
Neighborhood News & Lifestyles was at the event, and is happy to report that there was quite a crowd! Held at East Lake United Methodist Church, located at 2801 East Lake Rd. S, in Palm Harbor, the community showed up to support our local ToyMakers, bid on some amazing items and for an opportunity to tour the ToyMakers workshop, which is usually only open to the VIP volunteers and by appointment. 
 
The ToyMakers met their guests at the entrance to welcome them and the little ones were allowed to choose a car of their own, made by the Toymakers themselves! Then it was off to the races, where some of the littlest ones wanted to camp out for the rest of the day, racing their car down the wooden track! 
 
Inside, there was a beautiful buffet, and an incredible selection of donated items that were up for silent auction. Some of the most popular items were tickets to popular Florida theme parks and attractions, gift certificates to some of the area’s most popular restaurants, handmade items, and artwork made by ToyMakers and the friends of the ToyMakers of East Lake. There were hundreds of items in the silent auction, and there was quite a bit of excitement in the room! 
 

At the ToyMakers of East Lake's Open House

At the ToyMakers of East Lake's Open House

As the morning progressed, the auction sheets filled up quickly-and there was quite a bit of suspense at the close of the auction! At the end of the day, the community came out to support an amazing organization and to do a little holiday shopping at the same time. More than that, people met some incredible volunteers who put their hearts into this charity. Best of all, there were new volunteers signing up to join them. 
 
Bob Helms, said “It was quite a success! We had a 43 percent increase over last year.” 
 
It was thanks to the donations and contributions of so many local businesses and supporters that made this event the success that it was. Many local restaurants donated gift certificates, while large organizations and companies donated products, tickets, experiences and more. 
 
Janet Helms, Vice President of ToyMakers of East Lake, said, “I very much appreciate the generosity and kindness of all the people who participated this year!” 
 
It’s not just Neighborhood News & Lifestyles that is in love with this great organization, in fact all of Tampa Bay has been getting excited about the great things that this organization does for little ones. 
 
Bob said, “We made the local news three times in the month of October which greatly increased the number of people familiar with our charity. ABC Action News subsequently ran a 90-second feature on our current activities on November 5th and 6th featuring our WWII Veteran, Thad Pollard, and some of the children we served recently at Tampa General Hospital. Last week we were contacted by Fox News in NYC and asked if we can fly to New York to appear on their morning show, Fox & Friends in a four-minute live segment. It’s very exciting for us!” 
 
If you would like to be a part of a wonderful organization that makes wooden, handmade toys year round for children in the hospital, please sign up as a volunteer for the Toymakers of East Lake! You don’t have to have any experience with woodworking, as they’ll teach you what you need to know. You may find that you make more than a toy in that workshop – you may find that you make some of the best friends you’ve ever had. 
 
The ToyMakers of East Lake have a workshop is located at 2690 Tanglewood Trail in Palm Harbor, FL 34685, behind the East Lake United Methodist Church. If you would like to donate, sponsor or volunteer, visit the website, www.toymakersofeastlake.org or you may email them at toys@toymakersofeastlake.org.

Article Gallery

  • ToyMakers of East Lake has wonderful volunteers who love what they do, contributing a combined 15,000 volunteer hours this year!
  • Neighborhood News & Lifestyles’ Julie Kanehl (with her daughter) came away with a winning bid for a Lazy Maguro gift certificate
  • At the ToyMakers of East Lake's Open House
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