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Sherman Francisco Leads Charity Group in Making 715 Toys for Tots

Atlanta Marines donated 700,000 toys last year and they want to exceed that number.

Sherman met with the Area Coordinator for Toys For Tots in the Atlanta area. When he asked what type of toys were needed their answer was, “toys for toddlers.”

This was the first time a woodworking group or any woodworker has made toys for the program in this area. Sherman wanted it to be successful, and to include several types of toys. He contacted and he purchased a mix of toy plans for the program. Their help was greatly appreciated and was very useful in assisting his team to meet the goal of 300 toys. The team exceeded their goal and built 715 toys! Sherman was very pleased that the toy plans he collected insured that the donated toys were a proper mix for both boys and girls.

Below: Sherman Francisco (in the green polo shirt) was responsible for organizing the Toys for Tots wood toy program. He did it in an organized and efficient manner. Sherman’s goal was to produce 300 handmade wood toys by the first of October to meet the Toys for Tots Christmas deadline. He has exceeded his goal thanks to the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association!

“Painting by hand is really time consuming when you are trying to meet a commitment of 300 toys.” That’s why the toys that his group made were mostly unfinished other than adding a non-toxic coat of polyurethane or beeswax for finishing. NOTE: For a simple easy-to-make non-toxic beeswax paste watch this video.

Sherman likes to emphasize the healing nature of making toys to donate for children. Although the project consumed him, he loved every minute of it even though he has been battling serious health issues this year. He continues to press forward with the determination of a Navy Captain.

Sherman kicked off his project by asking the Atlanta Toys for Tots Coordinator to meet with the Gwinnett Wooworkers as a group. His organizational skills and determination payed off. The project is ahead of schedule thanks to the quality help from the Association.

Below: Sherman Francisco is holding the plaque that will be presented to the Marines when the handmade wood toys are delivered in October.

Sherman says, “Actually the only finish I use is the Butcher’s Block Conditioner from Home Depot to insure safety for the children. All small parts are glued in place to avoid children swallowing them.” 

Safety is the number one factor when making toys for children. Sherman’s team has worked diligently to make sure that each toy is safe to play with and that none of the toys contain any toxic substances or small parts that can be swallowed.

Every toy was carefully inspected before being packaged to insure that all surfaces were smooth and free from dust and splinters. A thorough examination was conducted to insure that all glued parts were permanently secure and that each toy was perfectly clean.

Atlanta area’s Peachtree Woodworking Supply offered many resources to the project and have donated space and assistance each step of the way.

A project this size requires planning and determination. The Gwinnett Woodworkers pitched in with their professional expertise from several woodworking disciplines.

Above Right: A band saw is used to rough cut the wood blanks to shape. This step is one of many that sped up the toymaking manufacturing process and added efficiency.

The Gwinnett Woodworkers Association has members from all areas of woodworking including seasoned professional woodworkers and highly skilled artisans and hobbyists. Their ability to conceive and plan a project and see it through all the tough spots to completion has been priceless.

The team worked together as a well-oiled machine and the quality of the toys reflect the determination to get things right. Failure was not an option.

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