Eugene middle school students craft handmade toys for kids in need

Youngsters at Madison Middle School craft handmade toys for kids in need, Nov. 29, 2018. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- These Madison Middle School students are hard at work on a special project.

"We're doing touch-up sanding for all of these airplanes," says one student.

It's a joint idea by the students and their wood shop teacher, Mike Stead.

"A couple of the kids were asking if we can make the biplanes that they'd seen in the room," said Stead.

From that simple question, Stead wondered, why have each student build only one plane when they could do much more and help those in need in the community.

"So, I put that to the kids to see if they'd be interested in trying to produce more than just one a piece and they rose to the challenge."

After 11 weeks of hard work, the students turned pieces of plain wood into a hundred toy planes donated to the US Marines Toys for Tots.

It's a program that gives toys to local kids whose parents can't afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.

The kids say the project has been a remarkable learning experience .

"Even though it's just us doing it, I think it's really good for our school and I hope it inspires other people to do good things for other people and for our Community," says project manager Olivia Thompson.

Stead says the project helped his students develop a deeper understanding of manufacturing, collaboration and, perhaps, something more.

"I hope that they'll get a sense of community but also that they'll get a sense of, 'what can I do for my neighbor,' 'what can I do for someone else' and that the world is a lot better place when we help each other out."

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