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Monday, July 22, 2024

CWC Community Service Projects


The Jim Schaefer Toy Project

For more than 30 years, members of CWC have built and donated toys to the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP).  CAP is a non-profit Christian organization committed to serving people in need in Appalachia.  CAP serves all of Appalachia including portions of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.  The toys made by CWC members are distributed by CAP to needy Appalachian children in five counties around Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. For many of the children, these toys may be the only gifts they receive for Christmas.

In November 2007, the CWC honored one its members by renaming this perennial toy program The Jim Schaefer Toy Project.  As background, Jim started the Club's participation in this project in 1988, when members were looking for a way to contribute.  He continued to lead the program for about 15 years.  Over the years, he and his wife Sylvia made hundreds of toys and other items for children.  Each year, they loaded their van with the donated items from CWC and made the trip to Mt. Vernon, KY for delivery.  Occasionally, two trips were required.  In 2003, he handed the leadership reins to Terry Elfers & John Leonardi to take over stewardship of the project. The club participation and number of items contributed has increased every year.  In spite of challenging health problems, Jim, with Sylvia's support, remained an ardent toy maker and supporter of the project.  Sadly, Jim died on May 28, 2008, but the Toy Project he started lives on.

We invite all area woodworkers, CWC members and non-members alike, to participate in this worthy project.  Toys are collected each year at the November meeting.  If you would like more information contact: Gene Wiggs

  Toy Safety Guidelines -
These are just guidelines to minimize risk.  They don't cover all federal requirements, but are to be used as a good faith effort to help us produce safe toys.  Please feel free to come to any meeting and ask questions.  Likewise, you can e-mail Larry Saupe if you have questions.

  Photos in The Jim Schaefer Toy Project Gallery

If you're looking for ideas for toys or other items to make, check out the Samples of Toys and Other Items that members have contributed over the past 20+ years.

Toys and Memory Boxes for the Children at Children's Hospital

CWC has enthusiastically volunteered for a special toy project for Cincinnati's Children's Hospital.  By crafting and donating toys, puzzles and boxes we hope to help make life a little brighter for the children undergoing treatment. The nurses and administrators tell us that it really makes a difference in a sick child's life when they can "escape" from their current situation and have an activity with a toy or craft. And it helps their parents also. CWC members and non-members alike are encouraged to help out.  Basil Maddox is our liaison. 

  Toys and other Community Services Projects Photo Albums

 Here's how you can help:
We are currently including these three items: 
1.  Memory box -  about the same size as a cigar box.  8.5"x5.5"x2.5".  It should have a lid. A sliding lid works well and doesn't require a lot of work.   The box should not be finished.  The children will work on decorating them. Memory boxes can be any size or shape. However, be cognizant of limited space in a hospital room. If you'd like a plan to get started, check out one of the plans below.

Memory Box Plan   (Provided by Ken Koch)

Memory Box Plan2   Completed Memory Box Photo (Provided by John Leonardi & George Murphy)
2.  Any wheeled small toy like a car or truck (see some samples below).
3.  Various cutouts out of  1/4" or 3/8" wood.
Use your imagination and help the children use theirs. Cutouts of animals, fruit, trees, toy cars, trucks, tractors and so on. The children will decorate them and hang them up.  Unless the cutouts are meant to be sitting on something,  please drill a 3/16" hole so they may be hung with a string.

Put a tag on your bag or box, addressed to Basil Maddox - Children's Hospital Project and include your name.  If you have some completed items, contact Basil for pickup/delivery arrangements.  See Club Contacts for contact information.

Fernside - Supporting Children And Families Through Grief


Fernside is a non-profit organization offering support and advocacy to grieving families who have experienced a death. As the 2nd center in the nation, Fernside offers peer support for grieving children, teens and adults. Fernside works to increase community awareness of grief issues through community outreach.

Since 2008, Earl North has led the effort for the CWC to provide memory boxes for 50 - 70 children attending a local summer camp designed to help them deal with the loss of close family member. The memory box design is varied each year. The first year we participated, the boxes were designed to resemble a camera to help the children capture the good memories. In 2010, Earl made 68 Batmobiles for summer camp.

  Fernside Photo Album

  Fernside Thank You Letter for 2011

Jackson Area Ministries


Several years ago Ken Koch and Earl North began providing used furniture to Jackson Area Ministries, or JAM.  JAM is a mission activity of the United Methodist Church. 

When the CPSIA law regarding restrictions for making and finishing toys was allowed to stand and become active, Ken decided it was time to quit making toys.  He decided it was time to do beds. There has been a long standing need for single beds for needy families with kids outgrowing crib and cradle. He laid out the design criteria.

The design criteria were fairly straightforward:

  • It needed to look good. It had to have some “class” to it.
  • It needed to be able to serve a child growing up and his/her kids and grandkids.  I wanted a real piece of furniture, not some man-made stuff with a picture of wood on the outside.
  • It needed to be sturdy and simple to assemble.
  • It needed to be easy to manufacture; milling, fitting up, and finishing. Ken is alone in this effort – at least just now – and wanted something one person could handle in all phases of manufacturing.

The result was a sort of Arts-and-Crafts style; mostly straight lines, easy to mill, assemble, and finish.  The bed shown here has about 37 board feet of poplar in it.  It is strong, cheap to make, easy to put together with a wrench or pair of pliers (most recipients of this will not have many, if any tools.  Many will be single mothers.)  The design incorporates two different supports for the slats; one is high so that a piece of thin plywood will easily support just a mattress, the other is low on the side rail for a mattress and box spring set.  He took the time to make some mortise and tenon jigs and a jig to bore the bed-bolt hole in an assembled bed. This facilitate manufacture and repeat-ability. The photos at the link below, show a prototype and a bit of the process. When all is finished, the bed shown cost about $85 in poplar and will likely be about $100 in red oak. Ken invites anyone who would like to help to contact him. See Club Contacts. Click Here to see photos of the beds.


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