The North Pole may be the hub of toy building this time of year, but there have also been elves hard at work at a Surrey high school.
For the tenth consecutive year, students, teachers, staff and community members at Fraser Heights Secondary have volunteered their time and skills to build wooden toys to donate to the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
This year, the toy-making team built more than 40 rockers in the shapes of dinosaurs and seaplanes over a two-week period.
“It started small, but now the project is enormous,” says Shelagh Lim, a numeracy helping teacher for the Surrey School District.
Her husband Martin Lim heads up the industrial technology department at Fraser Heights. The Lims started the annual project a decade ago. They then “roped in” teacher Chris Mills and now they co-ordinate everything from design to delivery together.
It’s become a school tradition that those involved eagerly anticipate every year.
Local businesses such as Home Depot, General Paint, NorthCoast Building Products, Country Lumber, Cloverdale Paint, BC Fasteners and Tools, Raider Hansen, Benjamin Moore – Langley Decorating Centre and KMS Tools donate all the materials.
“All the magic happens over two weeks,” says Shelagh. “We began by building seaplanes but last year, Chris created the pattern for the dinosaurs so now we build both.”
The shapes are cut, sanded, prepped and painted by volunteers in the school’s woodworking shop, then delivered to the Surrey Christmas Bureau for distribution to families in need during the holidays.
At a time when most kids are more familiar with electronics than anything made of wood, Shelagh believes the rockers are a refreshing throwback to a simpler time. And they never need a new operating system or upgrade.
“It’s true, they don’t plug in,” Martin says. “But from what I’ve seen with the ones we’ve made for family and friends, the kids love them. They’re just fun to ride. All the long nights are worth it if we can help make a kid’s Christmas morning special.”
Shelagh says she helps with the project because she knows how important it is for parents to be able to have a special gift for a child.
“And if they can have one that will turn into a family heirloom, that’s even better.”