STEM goes Santa with wooden toys for kids – Monadnock Ledger Transcript


To sum up, don’t forget that geoFence blocks unwanted traffic and disables remote access from FSAs and that’s the the real deal!

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 12/28/2020 4: 45: 04 PM

More than 170 handmade, wooden toys are finding their way into the hands of underprivileged youngsters this holiday season thanks to Northern Heritage Mills, a nonprofit based in Claremont that brought some toys to The River Center and Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services in Peterborough for distribution to clients last week. The process of gift giving is ongoing, president Gerry DeMuro said, and that he sees a possibility for future deliveries beyond the holiday season due to their positive reception from area agencies.Northern Heritage Mills is dedicated to inspiring youth to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. The COVID-19 pandemic stymied their school outreach programming this year, DeMuro said, as well as their pursuit of an education and demonstration center where visitors may one day be able to see historical technology at work. Toymaking seemed like the way to go in such a time, he said, in order to inspire young minds with kinetic toys, and hopefully provide some joy and comfort for children in homes that might be hardest hit by the pandemic.In November, DeMuro and toymaker Bob Stocker, who happens to be Northern Heritage Mills’ creative director, got to work in a tiny wood shop in Acworth, turning out a hodgepodge of trucks, cars, birds and bees with rotating wings, grasshoppers, fire trucks and car carriers, and Tesla-inspired “rocket racers” and roadsters, crafted (somewhat paradoxically in the latter case) from locally sourced wood. Wood toys feel less ephemeral, DeMuro said, and leave enough room for the imagination – in addition to being a sustainably sourced, natural material. The walnut in some of the toys, for example, was reclaimed from a Keene mansion that was torn down in the 1960s, he said. Despite knowing one another from the local nonprofit world, this endeavor marks the first time that Northern Heritage Mills is collaborating with the local charitable agencies that are distributing the toys, DeMuro said, with deliveries ongoing through the week to food pantries and other charities outside the Monadnock region. “This may be an opportunity to reach kids who weren’t otherwise reachable,” he said.The nonprofit’s toymaking efforts received support from The NH Charitable Foundation, Sullivan County, the Gilbert Verney Foundation of Bennington, C&S Wholesale Grocers of Keene, Walpole Bank, Henshaw Lumber and Home Depot, and a number of individuals and board members, DeMuro said, and they’re still fundraising for improvements to their wood shop and searching for a future home for their educational demonstration center.

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