Sun City clubs join forces for holidays

Santa’s elves aren’t the only ones who are making gifts for girls and boys.

Sun City’s Sew N Sew and Woodchucks members recently displayed some of the wood-crafted toys and hand-pieced quilts that they plan to donate to the Grafton Food Pantry.

Liss Kundich, Chair of the Quilts for Cradle project, said, “It’s amazing what talent our community has here.”

Sew n Sews and Woodchucks collaborate on holiday project donations. (Photo by Christine Such/Sun Day)

Sew n Sews and Woodchucks collaborate on holiday project donations. (Photo by Christine Such/Sun Day)

“It’s a feeling of satisfaction, truthfully, that these are going to those who need something for Christmas,” said Woodchuck Richard Bruillette.

The Woodchucks continue their twelve-year tradition of creating wooden toys that are donated to Grafton Food Pantry.

Kundich said, “The parents are taken into the back room and they choose the toys. This is probably the only present these kids will get this Christmas.”

The featured toys this year are cradles, wooden cars – an Indy racer and Volkswagen, tractor and wagon, bulldozers, school buses, puzzles, keepsake boxes, spinning tops, ducks, ponies and doll cradles.

Jim Jarin, President of the Woodchucks, described the structure of the process.

“We have 12 teams at work making the toys. Each team makes 24 plus toys,” he said.

“It’s hard to make toys for girls. One year we made bracelets,” Don Espeseth said.

Joan Ausbury, President of the Sew N Sew Club, said “The Woodchucks have been making cradles for the past 5 years and we have been providing handmade quilts for these cradles.”

She continued to say that “We had a contest this year as an incentive for participants. We had 86 women create beautiful quilts and 190 club members voted on the quilts.”

Kundich announced, “Jill Seaworth took first place, Mary Ann Olson took second, and Joan Ausbury took third.”

Don Steklec said that the structure of the cradles is unique.

“No nails are used in the cradles. The glue used is stronger than the wood,” he said.

One more touch is added to the cradle, Espeseth added.

“We buy the bears from proceeds that we make selling a few of the items we make. These toys are not sold to just anyone. In order to buy the few available for sale, you must have been on one of teams making toys. By selling these toys we are self-funded,” he said.

Janis added, “The wood is donated from a local businesses giving us their scraps. We get all types of wood. This year we have Ash, Red Oak, and Poplar.”

One of Woodchucks worked at a familiar toy company – Fisher-Price. He has become an asset to this annual project.

Janis said, “We make the toys safe for the kids,” noting that the finish is always non-toxic.

Steklec added, “Like the string on a toy – it has to be a certain length, the bears have embroidered eyes, so nothing can be pulled off and swallowed.”

The Woodchuck’s Toy Team Members this year are:

Joel Bambas, James Bartelsen, Richard Bruillette, Don Espeseth (Team Leader) Brad Freymath, Rich Stashwick, Don Steklac, Karen Tacher, and Lach Stewart

The joint effort of the Woodchucks and Sew N Sew members planning started in July.

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