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Dragons and Dinosaurs

Wow! What could go wrong except a few floppy patterns? With experts like this, who needs a pattern? Saturday, September 7th, the NorthStar Scrollers spent the morning cutting, sanding, gluing and kibitzing. We made mamenchisauruses, vlociraptors, triceratops, among other dinosaurs. And for dragons I think I saw a Lindworm Dragon and a Marsupial Dragon. Also various war horses, knights, and fair maidens. It was a great experience to come together, create, and donate our time and talent to a wonderful organization called T.L.C. Toys, Inc.


T.L.C. – (Tender Loving Care) Toys: (The following article contains excerpts from the T.L.C. Story reproduced from their website)


When you enjoy a hobby, you can never tell where it will take you or what it may become. This is something Mel Hartman has learned well.


In November 1989, Mel made a wooden truck for his one year old grandson. Within a week, Mel's two older grandsons wanted one. So, Mel gathered up some more oak scraps and made nine more trucks. His grandsons each kept one and gave the others to friends as Christmas gifts….


The seed was planted. Mel began to notice that many organizations, including Toys for Tots, were asking people to give away toys to needy children.


Then he saw a story of a man who delivered a pick-up truck load of homemade toys to Toys for Tots. Mel was inspired and immediately set a goal of delivering two pick-up truck loads of quality wooden toys by Christmas of 1990. The goal was that each toy would be safe, well made, and liked by the kids.   If the kids didn't like a toy or it didn't hold up while being played with, it was either redesigned or eliminated.


“By March of 1990, Mel had made a lot of sawdust, not to mention quite a number of toys.  One was a three piece train set that had to be painted.  It was real popular with the grandkids and Mel knew other kids would like it as well.” It was time to expand his project to include people who might like to paint the toys. He began to recruit a crew of painters from the senior-citizens community, and together they established T.L.C. Toys, a 501(c)3 corporation. By Christmas of 1990, this small idea had grown beyond expectations.  Over 1,500 toys were made, enough to fill half a dozen pickup trucks. 


Today, volunteer toymakers come from all walks of life and are not required to have any special skills. They all share a desire to make a difference in a child's life by showing them that someone cares. At any time of the year, you might find church groups, senior-citizen groups, or a variety of clubs like the NorthStar Scrollers making toys for T.L.C. Toys. Sewing circles make doll clothes. Lumber companies provide wood. Special needs organizations, court-ordered community-service workers, even the military on leave join in to make these toys. In the process, everyone feels good about themselves, knowing they are giving time to a worthy project.


T.L.C. Toys is supported by nearly 100 local organizations. They provide toys to needy children through a network of churches, hospitals, shelters, and community-service organizations. Since 1990, Mel and his circle of "elves" have created over 250,000 toys valued at more than $5,300,000!


"Christmas morning, I'm nine feet tall because I know of the joys the kids are experiencing," says Mel. “The sky's the limit for T.L.C. Toys.”