Every Child Deserves a Toy, and Every Person Needs a Purpose

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Alton Thacker and his friends at Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids found a place where you can do that even during the pandemic.
The nonprofit foundation started over 20 years ago, making toy cars, and to date, volunteers made over one million.

Their mission is to bring smiles to the over 500 million children in the world who haven’t had a toy, and those locally who need something to smile about.

Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids has been called Utah’s biggest car dealer. Each volunteer can help with tracing the pattern, cutting the toy cars out with the big saw, or drilling the windows with the drill press, sanding the cars on the belt sander, and putting the wheels on with an electric screwdriver.

The foundation name indicates its primary mission is to children. However, a second piece of the foundation’s mission is to provide much needed social interactions. “Several of our volunteers take the opportunity to see a friendly face and also give something back,” said Alton Thacker, president of Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids. “We have opportunities for everyone. Whether you are retired, widowed, or have extra time on your hands. Many volunteers joke that they could be home watching game show reruns, but they feel like they have more to give still and want to continue doing good in the world,” adds Thacker.

Production slowed to almost half in March at the onset of COVID-19. Several volunteers decided it was not safe for them because of their advanced age. That did not stop the nonprofit’s devoted volunteer base. For many, the best option was to grab a box of cars or a pile of fabric and work from home.

“When I went to the grocery store, I had two cars in my pockets to give out,” said volunteer Garry Hixson. “The thrill is seeing kids’ faces light up. I think that’s the whole point of what we do.”

“Whether our volunteers come in and socialize, from a distance and behind a mask, or take the cars home with them and return them finished, they have found a purpose even in these pandemic times,” adds Thacker.