16 Salutes: Toys for Tots Toy Makers

DIMOCK TOWNSHIP — They’re cutting once, measuring twice, making toys for boys and girls in Susquehanna County who, of course, have been nice.

“We’re playing Santa Clause I would say.  We’re building wooden toys for the marines for Toys for Tots,” said carpentry instructor Bruce Castelli.

From drilling to tightening up some screws, these dozens of students say their carpentry class at Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center has turned into Santa’s Workshop, making toy trains, toy trucks and planes.

“I guess we are kind of like elves, like Santa Claus,” said freshman Joe McLeer.

Ninth grader Joe McLeer says he’s adding his own spin to a toy plane, and paying extra attention to detail.

“I think about, like, how to do it right and make it work good. I don’t want to mess up and give the kid something that’s just going to break because when I was little, I hated my toys when they broke, so I want to make it good and sturdy,” said McLeer.

Others like 10th grader Kiera Merritt say this project warms her heart and hits rather close to home.

“I am really excited to be a part of something like this.  I have a very large family and Christmas was also very hard so knowing I’m helping another family really makes me happy,” said Merritt.

More than 20 toys were passed off to the Marines, giving 20 more kids a reason to smile this Christmas.

“It’s very special to see the students work on this and this is something that’s going to benefit the kids.  It’s really nice and it is different,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Von Morales.

But the giving these students do doesn’t stop with the holiday season, they make much more than toys, giving back to the community in several different ways.

No project is too big or small. These students have tackled it all, from homes to birdhouses for state parks, and dog houses for True Friends Animal Shelter in Montrose

“We donate the dog houses, they sell them, make money to buy food or whatever for their shelters,” said Castelli.

Each project teaches these students a lesson in building.

“Like how to make wheels on the drill press, or cutting edges off on the table saw,” said ninth grader Griffin Bunnell.

16 Salutes these students at the Susquehanna Career and Technology Center in Susquehanna County.

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