MERRILLVILLE | Members of the Northwest Indiana Woodworkers Association were proud Thursday as they packed wooden toys they created to give to needy children for Christmas, but it may be the last time the group can help those in need during the holidays.
Starting in February next year, all toys must be tested to ensure the paint used on the items doesn't contain lead, said Bob Roach, chairman of the association's Toys for Kids committee.
He said it would be too costly for the association to send the toys they build each year to labs for the required testing.
"It's very likely this is the end for Toys for Kids," Roach said.
While the association supports regulations to protect children from playing with potentially dangerous toys, members think it's unfortunate they might no longer be able to provide gifts to those in need. Roach also noted no lead paints or finishes are used on toys created by the association.
The group has been making toys that are given to needy children during the holidays since the association formed 19 years ago.
This year, members created nearly 1,000 toys that will be distributed through 21 churches and other organizations.
"I would say we were successful this year," Roach said.
He said members work on the projects throughout the year. Tables were full of the toy cradles, cars, trucks, banks, whistles and other items during the association's meeting Thursday at Pierce Middle School.
Representatives from some of the organizations that will distribute the toys attended the association's meeting and said the items may be the only gifts the children will receive during the holidays.
"These are just absolutely greatly appreciated," said Donna Stath, of the Ross Township trustee's office.