BROOKINGS, SD (KELO) — A Brookings man who originally picked up woodworking as a hobby now spends countless hours making toys for children in the Ronald McDonald House.
From front loaders, to fire engines and even a catapult, Kelly Kantack builds all sorts of wooden toys.
“I did a few woodworking projects a long time ago a couple of decades ago and always wanted to do woodworking but with family it was just not, there was no time for it. But now that I’m retired and empty nester, I have time to do woodworking,” says Wooden Toy Maker Kelly Kantack.
He says it’s easy to make more than one when he has all the supplies ready.
“The nice thing about making toys is once you set up your your tool to make one cut, it’s really easy to make 30 of those cuts. And so it’s easy to make all the parts, it’s when you get to assembly that that takes quite a bit of time,” says Kantack.
The handmade toys have been going to children at the Ronald McDonald House in Sioux Falls for the last six years.
In the Under the Sea room is where you will find Kantack’s toys. The Under the Sea room is a room where kids get to come and choose one special toy during their stay.
“Because their eyes light up and it’s like whoa, what? And the choice, you know, which toy do I take? It’s a great feeling and it’s something of theirs. We have toys they can play with here, but this is a toy that’s going to be theirs and it’s theirs to keep,” says RMHC Community Outreach Officer Mike Broderick.
Bringing joy to children who are going through the hardest times of their lives.
“It makes a huge difference because a couple of things. Those toys are so unique, and they’re made and they’re handmade with love. And they last, those things are going to last, you know, for years, for decades,” says Broderick.
“It’s a win, win, win really. I have fun making the toys. I mean, they’re cool, they’re toys. And I have fun giving them away. And then it brightens the day of somebody who really needs it,” says Kantack.
With Christmas coming soon, the Ronald McDonald House is looking for more toys for the children who stay there, and Kantack encourages other toy makers to donate to the charity.