READING, Pennsylvania -- Doug and Louise Brown have been running Wood to Wonderful, a workshop in Reading for the past 26 years.
They make beautiful wooden toys by hand like basic planes, cars, farm animals and trains.
Doug Brown explains, "Wooden toys today are unique. In order for children to use our toys they have to use their imagination, have to create the sound of the car or the farm animal. That's what I love about it."
The toys they make are usually made out of a few blocks of wood and kept together with dowels or rods. They finish, paint and donate them all over to children and families who may not have these basic playthings that can bring so much joy to a child.
They've recently donated 3,000 wooden toys to Uvalde, Texas, for children in the wake of the tragic school shooting there. Last year, he reached out to Razom (a non-profit in New York specializing in sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine) and they told him what Ukraine's families really need are rattles for babies.
So, they've set about to build and ship about 3,000 rattles for families in war-torn Ukraine.
"I heard on the radio during the first month of the war in Ukraine, there were 5,000 babies born. And these babies have no rattles or any toys to use or play with," Doug says.
So his team of volunteers set to make the rattles to send across the world to families in need.
Carl Bard, a long-time volunteer at the workshop explains, "It's a joy to come in here every week. It's volunteer work, it's hard work but it's easy to get up in the morning when you're surrounded by these amazing people."
The Browns have been in Reading making toys for children for 26 years. Before that they were in the Baltimore area doing the same amazing work. Doug used to own a picture shop framing business and would spend his nights there making toys as a side project.
"You're not even supposed to be carving and cutting into wood at that place because the dust can get everywhere, even in the picture frame!" jokes Doug.
Over the years, they say they've made thousands of toys for children all across the world. And that's truly something wonderful.
To find out more about Wood to Wonderful please visit Woodtowonderful.org.