Nearly every day, Ed Higinbotham of Fayette, Pennsylvania, spends time in his workshop building wooden toys for children he may never meet.
The World War II veteran is 94 years old, but his age hasn’t slowed him down one bit. He has been crafting toy trucks and tractors since the 1980s, and he has no intention of quitting anytime soon.
Ed believes he has given away at least 3,000 toys since he started woodworking. For the past few years, he has teamed up with the Pennsylvania State Police to help distribute these special gifts to local elementary schools and youth groups.
His generosity has even earned him the nickname of the “Fayette Santa.”
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Best of all, his efforts are a true labor of love! When he thinks of children playing with the toys he created, he gets emotional. “I could almost cry, to be honest with you,” he said.
“I love to make toys,” he continued. “The toys are simple and require nothing more than a child’s imagination.” Plus, each of his handmade creations has a tiny etching on the bottom that shows the day and year it was made, so the kids can treasure them forever!
The only people who enjoy giving toys away more than Ed are the state troopers who have the honor of distributing them each year.
“Today we arrived at Head Start of Fayette County, Lemont Furnace location, and handed out the wooden toys to the children on behalf of Ed Higinbotham,” Trooper Robert Broadwater wrote in 2018. “The smiles on these young faces are priceless. This is what kindness looks like. Thank you, Ed.”
“A lot of [the kids] like to paint them, have fun with them. It’s not every day that you actually get a homemade wooden toy,” Broadwater added. “And I think the young people appreciate that.”
As for Ed, he loves being the local Santa Claus and is happy to have a skill that can make children smile.
“It’s just something that I enjoy doing,” he said. “And if I make somebody else happy, and if that’s Santa Claus, then I’m Santa Claus.”
Doesn’t it warm your heart to know there are people like Ed in the world? He transformed his hobby into an ongoing act of kindness, and if that’s not what it means to be Santa, we don’t know what is!
Share this story to thank Ed for his hard work.
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