Local seniors make toys for North County children

(From left) Tom Woodbury, Carolyn Rowland, Ron Neuman and Bill Speakman are part of the woodworking team at La Costa Glen in Carlsbad.
(Luke Harold)

Every Monday since March, a group of seniors at La Costa Glen in Carlsbad has been making toys out of wood, to be distributed to North County children who might not otherwise not receive any gifts during the holiday season.

“We feel it’s really rewarding to be able to do this,” said Tom Woodbury, a former IBM employee who took up woodworking more than 20 years ago.

He leads a small group of La Costa Glen woodworkers who assemble nearly 100 wooden trucks, cars and other types of toys out of woods, including mahogany, black walnut, birch and oak. Over the past several months, they made about 4,000 total parts to assemble this year’s inventory. The wheels and some of the other parts are ordered separately.

Woodbury added that the finished products are much different from most of the store-bought toys today, mostly made from plastic.

The group meets every week in La Costa Glen’s hobby room, which includes a woodworking area.

“It’s just the satisfaction of being able to start with this,” said Woodbury, referring to a piece of wood, “and come out with these fantastic pieces.”

Among the other elves at La Costa Glen, Carolyn Rowland was interested in getting involved after years spent helping her husband in his wood shop. La Costa Glen resident Ron Neuman said the group is glad to be able to put toys in the hands of children who are most in need of holiday cheer.

This holiday season will be the second year the La Costa Glen woodworkers have conducted their toy-making operation. Once complete, the toys are donated to the Marine Corps, Father Joe’s and Casa De Amparo, who distribute them to North County children. Boxes of completed toys ready for delivery were piling up in the La Costa Glen hobby room.

For more information on the group and how to donate to support their toy-making, visit