DALLAS, TX---Santa really does have a workshop in Texas!
Three resident teams of Highland Springs, the Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas, collaborate annually to provide hand-made toy cradle sets and fire trucks to the Hobby Crafters Foundation and the NETWORK of Community Industries, Inc. for distribution to children and families in need in the Dallas area.
Resident woodworkers of the Woodchuck Group design and construct the cradles and fire trucks. A group of talented painters then decorate them. The Sewing Ladies are responsible for assembling the dolls and sewing the mattresses and blankets.
In 2013, a total of 115 cradle sets and 50 fire trucks were created at Highland Springs.
The effort began in 2010 when representatives from the Hobby Crafters Foundation showed the residents designs for sample cradles. "That was all the impetus we needed. The team has taken it from there and added our own special touches to the project," stated Sam Davidson, a resident who serves as the project coordinator.
Like many seniors, their technological skills grew to the point where they collaborated with community management to purchase a computerized router for the woodshop. With this new tool, their cuts could be more precise.
Ideas turned into action as their plans were put into motion in February, 2013. Over sixty residents served as "Santa's elves," crafting, painting and sewing at their own pace through mid-November.
That's when one more new twist was added: they would "sell" their creations to fellow residents. In effect, residents were sponsoring each toy in exchange for having their name placed on the individual toy's gift tag. In turn, the proceeds paid for the materials utilized in making the toys.
The "sale" took place during Sunday brunch on December 1st. Before brunch ended, every toy had been sponsored.
"The outpouring of generosity was overwhelming. It provided us with the abundance of confidence that we should always try to do more," stated Mr. Davidson.
Special thanks were extended to Anna Holt, who organized residents in the assembly of the dolls, blankets and mattresses, and to Barbara Coady who coordinated the artwork design. Additionally, Mr. Davidson, Walter Zulch, and Charles Alspach managed the assembly, finishing and basic painting of the cradles respectively.
About Highland Springs: Highland Springs is one of sixteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living. Located in North Dallas, Texas, the scenic 89-acre campus is home to more than 650 residents. Highland Springs is the ideal greater Dallas retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.