Sanford veteran builds more than 600 wooden toys for Lee County children in need this Christmas

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Sanford veteran builds 600 wooden toys for kids in need
The 81-year-old spends much of the year tucked away in the garage building hundreds of wooden toys for kids who may not have other gifts to open on Christmas.

SANFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nothing could stop Jim Annis from making this Christmas special. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the 81-year-old to work harder as there's more of a need this year.

"I've got to make some more toys right quick. The last three weeks I've been very busy making toys from scratch," said Annis.

The veteran spends much of the year tucked away in his garage of a workshop building a variety of wooden toys by the hundreds. He donates them to the Lee County Salvation Army for kids who likely won't have other gifts to open Christmas morning. Jim remembers that feeling.

Lee County man crafts hundreds of wooden toys for children in need every Christmas

"My dad...he worked every day. He had a job but didn't make a lot of money. When you have five or six kids, it's hard to have a good Christmas for everybody," said Annis.

Last year after the original story, a lot of viewers were generous enough to donate money, wheels and even wood to Jim. Those donations helped him build more than 600 toys this year.

Annis credits high school wood shop class for teaching him this valuable skill as he was born with a hearing disability.

Lee County veteran who crafts wooden toys for children in need surprised by viewer donations

"The principal called me in one day and said, 'Jim, we are going to give you a trade. That way, when you get out of school, you'll have a trade to make a living,'" said Annis.

Wooden scraps fill the nooks and crannies inside his workshop. As long as there's kids who need toys to open Christmas morning, he could always use more.

"I don't get paid money for this. I get paid better than money. When I give the child the toy, the smile on their faces and eyes lighting up, it hits me right here," said Annis touching his heart.

If you would like to donate, Mr. Annis would take your call at +1 (919) 478-6246.