Woodshop students build toy cradles for kids

Babydoll cradles will be given out as part of Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program
By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
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Students in Matt Conley’s woodshop class at Placer High School were putting the finishing touches on some special Christmas gifts Wednesday. They built 52 cradles that will be given to needy children as part of the Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program. The program will distribute toys and food to more than 500 families during its distribution day Saturday at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. “I basically like the fact that it’s going to charity and little kids who need it,” said student Nicholas Vandendriesche, who helped lead the community service project. The cradles will be given to 3-year-old girls along with blankets made by the Foothills Quilting Guild and a doll to make a “complete gift,” said Phil Rightmer, board member with the Christmas basket program. Rightmer has been heading up production of the cradles for the last 15 years and decided it would make a terrific community service project for youth. “I thought it would be a great idea to have high school kids involved in the Christmas basket program and take ownership of something,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but all you have to do is see the smile when these little girls get (the cradles) and it’s all worthwhile.” Students created the cradles in a mass-production style, where each student performed a different task in the construction. Students worked during class and after school to complete the project in eight days, Conley said. The project used donated materials from Meeks Lumber and Hardware in Rocklin and Diamond Pacific in Auburn. “It’s good having a project for the students that doesn’t cost us more,” Conley said. “Plus, it’s a good way to give back to the community.” Rightmer said he hopes to have a dump truck design contest with the woodshop students next year, so there can be a handmade toy for the little boys, too. Michelle Miller-Carl can be reached at ---------- For more information on the Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program, call (530) 888-3750.