Using His Talents for Joy: How Cardiff Toymaker Ted Bird Uses His Skills to Spread God’s Love

6th September 2019

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Ted Bird uses his love of and skill in woodworking to build toy cars for Operation Christmas Child, and encourages people to use their skills to serve, too!

In a small workshop in Cardiff, Wales, big things are happening. An Operation Christmas Child volunteer since 2001, Ted Bird was searching for something more he could do to aid the incredible mission of sending out shoebox gifts to children in need overseas.

When I retired, I was looking for something to occupy my time because I can’t just sit down and do nothing. So, we got involved by beginning to volunteer in an Operation Christmas Child processing centre, and from then on, we got hooked,” Ted recalled.

Through his years in the processing centre, Ted noticed that sometimes, shoeboxes would come through that were sparse on “Wow Items”, like toys or games.

Shoebox next to toy car

Ted used the wood from the old Operation Christmas Child pallets to make incredible wooden toy cars and games to pack inside shoeboxes.

As Ted wondered about how he could contribute, he watched a film about a group who built small toy cars for kids. Ted, a skilled woodworker, knew that this was something he could do. When he noticed other volunteers in the Operation Christmas Child processing centre getting ready to discard the leftover wooden pallets from the season before, he had an idea.

There were a number of pallets left over that nobody wanted,” Ted shared. “I thought ‘you can’t rid of that, it’s too good!’ So, I cut out usable wood from the pallets, took it home, and over the next year started making toy cars from it.”

Ted and Margaret smile with a toy car and a shoebox

Ted and his wife, Margaret, find so much joy in packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes each year.

Since he started, Ted has handcrafted 100’s of toy cars, as well as small board games with the leftover wood he gathers from the pallets. Ted’s love for the children he makes these cars for radiates through the quality of each car. “I’ve always worked on the system that if I wouldn’t give it to my grandchildren, I wouldn’t give it to these children,” Ted affirms.

Ted loves making toy cars for Operation Christmas Child, and he cannot wait to keep creating more for this coming season.  

Ted's toy cars and games in his workshop

Ted’s love and care for each child is evident in every car and game, which makes it a perfect item to include in a shoebox gift.

The ability to use his talent of woodworking to share the love of Jesus with children all over the world makes shoebox packing even more personal for Ted, and he encourages others to do the same. If you want to use your talents to show a child God’s love through Operation Christmas Child this year, check out our website where you can explore how to pack a shoebox, view interactive resources, and learn how you can get involved.  

Get Involved

Ted’s toy cars are his way of using his talents to show God’s love to a child, how can you use your talents to serve?

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

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