Every Christmas, Jim Annis dons the Santa costume and distributes toys for the kids who cannot afford it.
Jim Annis, an 80-year-old veteran from Sanford, North Carolina, has been making toys for kids in need for 50 years now, reported ABC7. He spends most of his time carving, sculpting, and sanding wood and making toys. And on Christmas, he dons the Santa costume and distributes toys among kids who cannot afford them.
In an interview with WTVD, he said, "When the Salvation Army gives out the food and clothes to people in this area, I give out my toys. It feels like you're sort of forgotten about at Christmas time."
Jim Annis donates nearly 300 toys to the Salvation Army. Other than the wooden scraps he gets from nearby homeowners, he pays for everything else out of pocket. He remembers waking up Christmas morning with no gifts to open. https://t.co/QmrvTAJS2d— Brian Sherrod (@BrianNBCNEB) December 22, 2019
In his workshop, Annis makes toys of cars, dolls, piggy banks, tractors, and firetrucks, and apart from the wooden scraps he gathers from nearby homeowners, he pays for everything out of his own pocket. Annis said, "Between the wheels and paint, I spent about $1000."
Real-life #Santa: Army vet, 80, has made Christmas toys for #kids in need for 50 years. For Jim Annis, #Christmas is about giving.The 80-year-old #Army #veteran has helped Santa out every #holiday season for the past 50 years by creating wooden toys. https://t.co/5hL4tewDQV pic.twitter.com/tfmyegsaiW— MilitaryVeteranProje (@MilitaryVetera) December 15, 2019
The war veteran also said that he will give around 300 handmade toys to the Salvation Army of Sanford and every bit of it goes for the children in need during this Christmas season.
Vet gets emotional explaining why he makes toys for kids For the past 50 years, 80-year-old Army veteran Jim Annis spends the holidays making wooden toys for children in need. CNN affiliate WTVD's Akilah Davis reports. https://t.co/lPIPmBp5by #Video #USRC pic.twitter.com/ckTckJam9M— Top U.S. & World News🗽 (@USRealityCheck) December 13, 2019
Undoubtedly, it is a lot of work for Annis alone, but all of it is worth it and he hopes to continue the tradition of spreading the joy as long as he can. He said, "I love when people ask me how much do I get paid for making these toys. I tell them my pay is when I see the smile on kids' faces. I hope to be able to do this until my toes curl up."
Growing up, Annis was part of a big family and they were not so well off. Hence, he understands what poverty is and what effect it can have on children. He said, "My dad, he worked, but didn't make a lot of money. It's hard to have a big Christmas with five kids." This is an incredible gesture from his part and we all hope that Jim continues to bring a smile on the face of all children for years to come.