80-year-old vet makes wooden toys for kids


SANFORD, N.C. (CNN) — Some less fortunate families have trouble getting gifts for their kids during the holidays.

That’s where 80-year-old veteran Jim Annis of North Carolina comes in.

He makes toys by hand and donates them.

Annis spends most of his days carving, sculpting and sanding blocks of wood into toys.

“When the Salvation Army gives out the food and clothes to people in this area, I give out my toys,” Annis said.

Every Christmas, for the past 50 years, the army veteran has worked ’round the clock to create nearly 300 toys, gifting them to kids in need through the Salvation Army of Sanford.

Other than the wooden scraps he gets for free from nearby homeowners, he pays for everything else out of pocket.

“My shellac, wheels and paint, I spent about $1,000,” he said.

But it’s not about the money.

For him, this is personal.

He remembers waking up many Christmas mornings with no gifts to open.

“My dad, he worked, but he didn’t make a whole lot of money. With five kids, it’s sort of hard to have a very big Christmas with five kids,” he said.

Jim makes it all.

Small and large cars, John Deere tractors, fire trucks, dolls, even piggy banks.

Over the years, he’s made Christmas a lot brighter for children living in lee county.

“I love when people ask me how much do I get paid for making these toys. I say my pay is when I see the smile on the kids’ faces,” he said.

Annis says he hopes to keep this tradition going another 50 years.

“I hope to do it until my toes curl up.”


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