What began three years ago with 50 to 75 toys made by Hobby Hut volunteers at John Knox Village and donated to Lee’s Summit Social Services has turned in to a Village-wide endeavor from the heart. John Knox Village is a life plan community in Lee’s Summit.

This year, resident volunteers with the Hobby Hut, a woodworking shop, donated more than 600 toys which are each hand-painted by a group of volunteers at the Art Studio, a dedicated art room at the Village. The toys will be given to families in need through the Lee’s Summit Social Services Christmas program. The toys range from puzzles, cars, trucks, rocking horses, to easels and much more. Hobby Hut volunteers work year-round making the patterns, sanding, painting and finishing the toys.

Woodworking has been a hobby of resident Pat Bergman’s for more than 20 years. She moved to the Village eight years ago because of the Hobby Hut.

“It’s great to work with the others at the Hobby Hut, and especially making these toys,” Pat said. “For years, I just made things for myself. And it’s just special to make something for others, especially for children.”

This year, they enlisted the help of resident volunteers to paint the toys. Around 24 volunteers total began painting the toys in June, including resident Caroline Arnold. The group met on Wednesday afternoons at the Art Studio, with many of them taking the toys home to continue painting and others came as they could.

“For us, it was a chance to express some creativity,” Caroline said. “Especially for me, who hadn’t really painted like this before. But there were others who are very artistic that really added the special details to the toys, like Jan Mallott (resident). Many volunteers spent numerous hours painting the toys. It really was a joy to do it, knowing you’re providing beautifully made wooden toys to children who might not have the chance to own one.”

John Knox Village is a not-for-profit, nondenominational life plan community that offers a variety of health care services to members of the surrounding community. With more than 45 years of offering care and services to older adults, the community is located one-half mile south of I-470 and U.S. 50 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. For more information, visit www.johnknoxvillage.org.