Season of giving through Washburn Tech’s Toy Build

Season of giving through Washburn Tech’s Toy Build
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:34 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Christmas is right around the corner, and students at Washburn Tech put their building skills to use to give back to the community.

Washburn Tech held its ninth annual Toys for Tots toy build event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday. Toy builders converted the Auto Refinishing & Collision Lab into Santa’s Workshop. John Lemon, a Washburn Tech instructor, said this event is special to him.

“We’ve done it for nine years,” said Lemon. “We’ve made 14,000 toys so far. I’m going to do this personally until we’ve reached 25,000 toys. Then I’m going hand it off to somebody else, and I’m still going to come back and help.”

Last year, with the help of students and volunteers, they made 1,000 toys for the Toys for Tots Foundation, which distributes them to children in the northeast Kansas area. This year, they’ve built 1,400 toys. Lemon said that growing up the community gave to him, and now it’s his turn to give back.

“It’s really important for me as a person to make sure I’m repaying that back to society.”

With the help from partners like Azura Credit Union, who gifted $3,000 to help with supplies, Lemon and his helpers were able to make hobby horses, yo-yos, beatbox drums and other goodies for kids in need.

“What I want to do is give all the students on our campus and other volunteers throughout the community a chance to have the same feeling of giving something back,” Lemon explained.

Joshua Smith, vice president of the Toys for Tots Foundation in NE, said that they are seeing a higher number of kids in need this year.

“We’ll be helping out about eight thousand kids,” said Smith. “A little over, which is 20 percent more than previous years.”

The organization is looking for more donations, whether toys or monetary. You can check out their website to donate.