by Jolene Lee
The Happy Factory makes quality, hardwood toys to give to needy children around the world, thus far producing and distributing over 1.6 million toys.
The Factory has postponed its annual open house and gala this year. Instead, the popular toy-making non-profit organization, run out of Cedar City, Utah, will be offering special tours, and is still looking for donations and volunteers. Normally, the Happy Factory has a fall celebration and fund-raiser, but has postponed the 2021 version because of the disruption the recent floods had on so many people’s lives.
However, if you or your group would like a special tour of the Happy Factory you can drop by any time from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., October 4 - 7. Happy Factory volunteers will offer free tours highlighting the various steps to making the toys, from tracing and cutting out the wood, to sanding, oiling and “wheeling.” At the end of the tour, visitors can receive a free toy car, and learn about volunteering or donating to the Happy Factory.
“The purpose of the tours is really threefold,” said Donna Cooley, who founded the Happy Factory with her husband, Charles, in 1995. “We mainly want everybody in the community to visit and see firsthand what we do here. Then, if they would like, they can learn more about volunteering or donating to the Factory. We always need more volunteers, and we always need more financial resources.”
The Happy Factory is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that operates with no paid employees. Also, many of the supplies to build the toys are donated. However, it still takes about one dollar to make every toy; this pays for equipment, maintenance and items such as saw blades, sandpaper and wheels and axles for the toy cars.
You may make a donation when you take the tour or by mailing a check to 896 N. 2175 W. Circle, Cedar City, UT, or by credit card by calling 435-586-8352. The Happy Factory is supported entirely by donations and volunteers.
Various donation levels are available, with larger donations eligible for a thank you gift of a wooden toy - from cars, to stools, to steam shovels. Donations are not required for the tours, but any amount would be appreciated.
Also, information about volunteering will be available. The Happy Factory always needs volunteers, but especially needs help with cutting, sanding and drilling.
The people who are associated with the Happy Factory understand there are over 500 million children living in poverty in the world, and many of them have never had a toy. But they believe in the Happy Factory’s motto: “We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world who needs one - but we’re going to try.”
“The spirit of the Happy Factory is infectious,” said Cooley. “Come, visit us and see why.”