On Friday morning, students from the Goff Middle School Student Council will purchase gifts with money they raised from this fall and bring bags full of toys, games and clothing to CoNSERNS-U for its annual free Christmas store. Among the items they donate for low-income families will be two dozen handmade wooden cars and trucks.
The wooden toy vehicles were made by Jim Hanley, grandfather of Emily Doherty, an 8th grader who attends Goff Middle School and is a member of Student Council. For the third year in a row, she has donated gifts from her family to CoNSERNS-U. And she takes special joy knowing other kids will get to play with toys made by her grandpa.
“It feels good to help people in need,” said Ms. Doherty.
The wooden vehicles filled a table in the Goff main office like a jammed mall parking lot this time of year. There are all different kinds – flatbed trucks, a tow truck, a car carrier truck that holds four cars, and a cement mixer. They are made mostly of pine and some hardwoods such as maple. Mr. Hanley uses pins and toothpicks in some of the smaller pieces to make them more durable.
“My (seven-year-old) grandson is my tester,” he said with a smile.
Woodworking has been a hobby of Mr. Hanley’s for the past 30 years. He makes all of the toys at his workshop in the garage of his East Greenbush home.
“I enjoy it. It keeps me busy,” he said.
Over the years he has made toys for his grandchildren, and now, gladly makes them throughout the year, two or three at a time, so his granddaughter can give them to less fortunate families during the holiday season.
Now that’s the giving spirit.