The young women of the Kelowna (British Columbia) First Ward spent one of their Tuesday evenings last spring sanding and varnishing blocks and wooden toys for the local Women’s Emergency Shelter.
The young women had talked with the director of the shelter, Cari Berger, to see what its needs were. They found that there were lots of stuffed toys but that the shelter never seemed to have enough boys’ toys and could definitely use some blocks or wooden animals.
The ward purchased wood, and one of the brethren, DeMoine Findlay, rough-cut over 150 toys and blocks for the girls to sand and varnish. The animal patterns were collected from craft magazines and enlarged to suit a wooden toy. Some of the patterns were so delightful, the girls were begging to keep “just one each.” (The llamas were an especially big hit.)
Sanding and painting shifts were rotated for variety as the girls worked hard and harmoniously. In fact, they worked so quickly that the two girls who were hanging the toys to dry could hardly keep up! Two other girls kept a sewing machine humming through the evening making bright-colored tote bags for the toys to be stored in at the shelter.
After the project was completed, the three class presidents, Jennie Jenson, Trudie Carlton, and Christie Adams, joined Young Women president Joyce Findlay at the shelter to make the presentation of the gift to the director. One of the girls was so impressed by the shelter and its mission that she made plans to volunteer there.
The one-time Tuesday evening project of the young women of Kelowna First Ward continues to bring great joy to lots of little children. Each new child is delighted to see the unique wooden animals. A couple of little boys have had their birthdays while at the shelter, and an animal was carefully wrapped and given to each one as his own special toy. The wooden toys have become a favorite at the shelter. They’re the type of toy that children can be creative and use their imaginations with, and the children constantly ask for them.
The enthusiasm for the project was inspiring. Two inactive girls were interested enough to participate, as well as two nonmember friends of the group. Attendance for the project was almost 100 percent. At the time, there were no members of the Church involved at the shelter, so this service was totally a church-to-community gift from the girls.