80-year-old Army veteran builds wooden toys for children in need

80-year-old Army veteran builds wooden toys for children in need

LEE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD/CNN) - Jim Annis spends most of his days carving, sculpting and even sanding blocks of wood into toys to donate to families in need during the holidays.

"When the Salvation Army gives out the food and clothes to people in this area, I give out my toys," Annis said.

The 80-year-old Army veteran has worked around the clock for the past five decades to create nearly 300 toys. Other than the wooden scraps he gets for free from nearby homeowners, Annis pays for everything else with his own money.

"My shellac, wheels and paint, I spent about $1,000," Annis explained.

But for this man it's not about the money — it's personal. He remembers waking up many Christmas mornings with no gifts to open.

"My dad, he worked, but he didn't make a whole lot of money. With five kids, it's sort of hard to have a very big Christmas with five kids," Annis remembered.

From cars and tractors to dolls and piggy banks, Annis makes it all, making Christmas a lot brighter for hundreds of children.

“I love when people ask me how much do I get paid for making these toys. I say my pay is when I see the smile on the kids faces,” said Annis, adding he hopes to keep this tradition going another 50 years. “I hope to do it until my toes curl up.”

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