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TLC Toys Business Feature

TLC Toys Business Feature

When you give someone extra compassionate, thoughtful attention, you provide TLC. That is precisely what Jim Barthel, previous Bank of Elk River Board Director and TLC President and volunteer, is all about. Jim wanted to spend his retirement volunteering, having a purpose, making a difference, and honoring a legacy, the founder of TLC, Mel Hartman.

Mel began making wooden toys in 1989 as gifts for his grandsons. Their friends liked them so much that he continued making toys, donating them to Toys for Tots and other local organizations during the holiday season. Shortly after Christmas 1991, he incorporated TLC Toys and was granted 501c3, a Tax Exempt status. The operation grew, the number of toys reached thousands, and the volunteers increased to more than fifty. TLC was a successful company made up of volunteers with talent and heart!

Today it continues to operate as a non-profit toy company. All volunteers are retired and enjoy the sawing, sanding, drilling, assembling, and painting of heirloom toys donated to many organizations in and around our community. Abused women shelters, the Salvation Army, Sharing and Caring Hands, Shriners, and the St Paul Police Dept are just a few lucky groups to receive these beautifully hand-crafted toys.

"I love bringing joy to children and adults who need a little love and kindness," says Barthel. "My passion is to make a difference in the lives of others." This is why Jim and many TLC volunteers spend countless hours at the toy shop located in Orrock, MN. Last year TLC donated over 20,000 toys. Trucks, race cars, airplanes, treasure boxes, and doll cradles are all made from the donated wood given to TLC every year. In 2021, over 60,000 wheels were attached to the vast array of toys—what a success story that offers delight to the volunteers and the recipients of the toys made with love and kindness. Thank you for making a difference, Jim, and the many volunteers who work together to make TLC Toys 'The Act to Follow'!

For more information about TLC Toys, please visit tlctoys.org


#CelebrateNationalVolunteerMonth #MakeADifference

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