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80-year-old NC vet donates hand crafted toys to kids at Christmas

Wooden Car (Unknown/PxFuel)
December 25, 2019

An 80-year-old Army veteran believes that Christmas is all about giving and for the past 50 years, he has proven that by hand crafting toys from wood and giving them to those less fortunate.

On most days, you will find North Carolina resident, Jim Annis, transforming pieces of wood into toys for kids who might not otherwise get a gift, ABC 7 reported.

Annis said, “When the Salvation Army gives out the food and clothes to people in this area, I give out my toys. It feels like you’re sort of forgotten about at Christmas time.”

He pays for the majority of the materials himself but said he does get scrap wood donations from residents in his neighborhood, allowing him to donate close to 300 toys to the Salvation Army of Sanford.

In all, he has donated more than 12,000 toys, according to The Modern Woodman.

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In addition to the Salvation Army, Annis also donates to the Samaritan Purse, his local church, and hospital burn units.

Among his toys, Jim makes “small and large cars, dolls, piggy banks, John Deere tractors and firetrucks.”

Annis said, “Between the wheels and paint, I spent about $1000. My dad he worked but didn’t make a lot of money. It’s hard to have a big Christmas with five kids.”

There were times, he said, when there were no gifts to open on Christmas morning.

Annis had many jobs when he was a child, including delivering newspapers, mowing yards, washing dishes and even making pies.

Annis said he was diagnosed with a hearing problem when he was a kid and had to go without a hearing aid because his parents couldn’t afford it; which hindered his ability to learn in school. Though he struggled struggled with school work, Annis excelled at working with his hands.

He works relentlessly on his toys and it is something he takes very personally.

The process begins in January after Annis busts out the band-saw, drill, and kid friendly paint.

“I love making the car haulers because kids enjoy the moving parts and putting the cars on and off the back,” he said.

Through his five decades of work, Annis has helped out many local families at the holidays.

Annis said, “I love when people ask me how much I get paid for making these toys. I tell them my pay is when I see the smile on kids’ faces. I hope to be able to do this until my toes curl up.”