TLC Toys sets new record

TLC Toys founder and president Mel Hartman of Andover and his volunteer crew toy makers set a new record for toys donated to needy children for the 2011 holiday season.

Mel Hartman, founder and president of TLC Toys, and his volunteer crew set a new record in 2011, making and distributing 29,464 toys for children in need. File photo

Mel Hartman, founder and president of TLC Toys, and his volunteer crew set a new record in 2011, making and distributing 29,464 toys for children in need. File photo

Hartman and his volunteers donate time to the effort, making parts and toys all year round.

In the 2011 season, TLC Toys reached a new record of 29,464 toys that were donated to charitable organizations to both children in need in the U.S. as well as for military members to distribute in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is up from the 5,000 to 6,000 toys that were made and donated each year when the organization first started in 1990.

Production starts for the next holiday season right after Christmas and volunteers donate anywhere from one to several days a week helping to make the wooden toys.

TLC Toys relies on individual donations, fund-raisers and foundations, along with local service clubs like the Lions, to help pay for the supplies needed to build the toys.

Hartman’s motto is, “One retired man made beautiful toys and sold them to wealthy children, it was work. Another retired man made beautiful toys and he gave them away to poor children, it was pleasure.”

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