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#NeighborhoodHeroes: Local couple makes thousands of toys for children during the holiday season

Mike Sullivan and his wife Judy spend their retirement making homemade wooden toys for children. They have been doing this since 2013. Every Christmas these toys are donated to kids in the Coachella Valley that would otherwise maybe not get a gift. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many parents are without jobs. These toys can help bring a special gift to kids during difficult times. The couple is hoping to reach out to more kids who need toys this year to give out near 500 more toys.

Mike and Judy Sullivan

This year, the Sullivan's made 1,500 toys. They spend seven days a week and eight to ten hours a day to make these toys. They make over one thousand every year. Mike said, “Most times we don’t even get to see the kids get them but they’re going out and we know somebody is going to have a more merry Christmas.” Judy added,“It makes me feel very very warm inside. I love it. I wouldn’t change anything for the world.”

The Sullivan's have donated toys to school districts and local toy drives and still have nearly 500 more to give to kids who need them. They are asking for your help to find which kids are in need so they can donate! If you're a family looking for a toy for your child you can email Mike Sullivan at or call him at 760-272-6268.

Judy said her husband does all the carving and designing of the toys. She puts the toys together and paints them. She also makes sure there are no loose parts before sending them off to make sure the safety is a top priority.

The toys they make include things like cars, jewelry boxes, educational toys, alphabet toys, stacker toys, push toys, and pull toys. Mike said it takes, on average, about four hours to make one toy. He said they are already getting started to make the toys for the next year!

“I always say that, I do not sell toys. But if you can contribute to help make more toys for next year, I appreciate that,” said Mike. He added, “The more help we can get, the more toys we can turn out”.

News Channel 3's Taban Sharifi will have more on these neighborhood heroes at 5 p.m. on KESQ.

Celebrating #NeighborhoodHeroes

While the coronavirus crisis is keeping us apart, we know the Coachella Valley community is still coming together to help each other. We are looking for those who are lending a hand during this uncertain time. Do you know of any everyday people who are going out of their way to help others? Have you seen someone find creative solutions to the new challenges we all face?

News Channel 3 wants to celebrate these neighborhood heroes. Tell us about them here. Enter HERE or email If you see good happening on social media, share it with us, and tag it #neighborhoodheroes for us to see.

We are all in this together. Help us showcase the good that's happening right here in the Coachella Valley.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus and want to be seen at Eisenhower Health should call the hospital hotline first at 760-837-8988. Avoid the spread of this illness.
Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home.
Cough into your elbow or tissue.
Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
Stay away from anyone who is sick.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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