What kind of organization is The ToyMakers of East Lake?
ToyMakers of East Lake (ToyMakers) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization located in Palm Harbor, Florida. Our mission statement: “Making smiles one toy at a time”. ToyMakers produce and donate brightly painted, hand-made wooden toys to sick and needy children in stressful environments. We also source, repair and recycle bicycles back into the community to needy children, returning veterans and homeless working adults. Most of our toys and bikes are delivered to the children we serve through agencies that come into direct contact with the recipients on a daily basis.
From the simple beginnings of the original ToyMakers group that started in Pasco County, Florida in 1982, approximately 400,000 toys have been donated to agencies in the local communities in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Alachua counties as well as special donations to children in need in remote countries around the world.
ToyMakers of East Lake is an outreach mission of East Lake United Methodist Church (ELUMC). We began operation in the third quarter of 2007 with 6 volunteers utilizing a shop building owned by ELUMC. Currently, the group includes well over 100 volunteers who donate over 15,000 hours of their time per year. Deliveries are made quarterly to many local agencies including All Children’s Outpatient Care of East Lake, The Haven of RCS, Operation PAR, Tampa General Hospital Children’s Medical Center, Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition, Ronald McDonald House, East Lake Fire & Rescue, Francis House, Rosa Valdez Child Care Center, and A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay. Additionally, toys have been shipped to the Midwest during floods, to Louisiana and Mississippi during the aftermath of hurricanes, to Mexico, Haiti, Cuba and the Caribbean with medical and health mission teams, and to Iraq and Afghanistan through military contacts.
It is a privilege to be able to offer some form of comfort to these children and their families in stressful times.