This is a guest post from Uproute Travellers Melody and Lindsay, aka The Gypsy Givers. Take it away ladies!
When we heard back from The Happy Factory we had just began a new leg of the trip. We had just left Denver and were like kids on Christmas Day! We were so excited to be making toys like little elves and delivering them along our route to those in need of some cheer. We still had so much land to cover and parks to see but our minds were looking forward to The Happy Factory.
The next five days we went to four National Parks: Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Zion (read all about the Gypsy Givers adventure through the national parks here: uproute.co/trips/theroadtohappiness -ed).
The land was so vast. Nature is so beautiful; it was hard for our minds to comprehend the depth of beauty. Continuing on that path, pulling into the factory itself was nothing but happy, bright signs directing us where to go.
Once inside, we met Donna. She was so friendly and as co-founder she was the perfect fountain of information for our mini tour before working. There are no salaries and they do not pay for anything out of pocket. Everything is donated even down to the legalities of making the logo a registered trademark.
They receive reclaimed wood from a cabinet store down the road. The toys are hard wood (no pine as it’s too soft and can give kids splinters). They give 1,000 toys a month to Operation Smile as well. They have free shipping in Utah, everywhere else the receiving company has to pay. In order to give to the 150 countries all over the world they have doctors that travel with the cars and distribute to villages.
Donna brought us into the back wood shop where the toys are laminated, cut into 6 different shapes of cars, and then branded with The Happy Factory logo.
We were then brought into the room for quality control, wheeling and painting with mineral oil. Mel and I got to work hammering in the wheels.
We made sure each wheel spun or else they had to go to the toy repair shop. We got to know Aaron, another volunteer, who comes in every other day. He is a wonderful soul giving back to a place he grew up. We used some mineral oil and polished up our cars. By the end of our time there we managed to pump out 41 toys for kids. Doug, the gentlemen we corresponded with and calling us the “Karma Kids,” offered to have us finish the process by dropping off toys in their efforts to make a toy for every child in the world that needs one. We decided we could drop off the toys to two places in need in Tahoe and Sacramento. Our time went so fast but we enjoyed every minute spent there. The people there made it that much more special. We can’t wait to partner with them again. We feel very strongly about their mission and their passion for helping others at no cost.
Our next stop was the place that always seems to be “on the way,” Tahoe. We love giving back to this place as it always gives so much to us each time. We reached out to the city to see who could best benefit from the donation of toys. They suggested the Barton Memorial Hospital. We met up with fellow New Jersey gypsy and honorary giver, Mike aka Noops. You can follow his travels @wheredidnoopsgo. He helped us carry in the 100 cars and trucks.
They will be used on their “comfort carts” that go door to door. No trip to BMH is complete without meeting Dr. Tahoe. It felt great knowing the toys we made will bring smiles to children’s faces during hard times.
Thanks for sharing your happy spirits with kids all over the world. We are honored to be a part of The Happy Factory.
Read the full story (with loads more photos!) over at The Gypsy Givers. Thanks ladies!
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