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TLC Makes 20,000 Handmade Toys For Kids In Need, From Mostly Donated Materials

RAMSEY, Minnesota (WCCO) -- There's a toy factory of sorts out in Ramsey, Minnesota that whips up creations Santa's elves would be envious of. Some St. Paul police officers picked up a haul to share with little ones here in the metro area.

WCCO was on hand for a toy delivery in process -- 1,907 toys, to be exact. In this case, the elves happened to be St. Paul police officers, their trailer serving as their "sleigh."

Inside each of the boxes were handmade toys. The volunteers at TLC Toys make 20,000 of them a year with mostly donated materials.

"This is a normal work day in our shop," TLC Toys' Scott Cords said. "We have guys that are drilling, sanding, sawing, assembling."

Roughly a dozen retired volunteers craft the heirloom pieces with love.

"The general mission is we want to make and distribute toys to kids that wouldn't normally be able to see this kind of item to play with," Cords said.

"For us to be able to bring those toys down to St. Paul and give those to the kids who might not have anything, we have a lot of kids that are first-generation. They have come from different countries; they're not really in a financial situation where they can afford toys," SPPD commander Pamela Barragan said.

The SPPD community partnerships unit is in the business of creating connections, many coming from the communities and neighborhoods they serve.

"The police department cannot do our job if we don't have a positive connection with the community, and we're fortunate that our department really works to do that," Barragan said.

"Knowing we can give something back to them, it's really a good feeling," said Israel Guzman, a community liaison officer for SPPD.

"Just by that toy, you make that connection," said Barragan.

And that connection makes all the difference.

For more on TLC toys, click here.

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