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Greenwood 10-year-old builds 250 wooden toys for kids in need

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 10-year-old from Greenwood has taken it upon himself to make the holidays a little cheerier for Hoosiers in need.

For months, Zander Hite built toys from scratch with his grandfather.

It all started with a request from Zander’s grandfather, Darl, to make a difference this holiday season. Zander took his grandfather’s words to heart, and now he’s mastering a new art.

Nearly five weeks from Christmas, Zander is ready to work. Grandpa Darl’s garage looks more like Santa’s work shop.

Darl gave Zander a $20 bill last winter, a gift with a message: Make a difference.

“You’d be surprised what some people can come up with with just $20,” Darl said.

Zander bought two slabs of wood to build toy cars.

“I played with them when I was little,” he said. “And I thought they were fun to play with.”

At first he built just one.

“It turned out to be really fun. And now I keep on making more,” he said.

So for months, Zander was grandpa’s apprentice.

“It’s not something they’re going to get in school anymore,” said Darl, who has been woodworking for several decades.

They worked weekends and after school perfecting every detail. Now, Zander is enamored.

Zander leads the way with a helpful hand nearby.

And this week, in four boxes sat 250 wooden cars and trucks.

“Quite a feat for a 10-year-old,” Darl said.

Zander loves it so much he joined Central Indiana Woodworkers club, where his grandfather has belonged for years.

“At the wood club I’m the youngest kid there,” Zander said.

The organization gave him the wooden wheels for the cars and the engine to deliver these toys to kids in need. The club has its annual holiday toy drive.

So, this week, they loaded up their truck to help make Christmas a little brighter for 250 Hoosier children.

We don’t know who will get the toys and these children won’t know Zander, the only child participating in the wooden toy drive.

It wasn’t always easy.

“It was a challenging thing to accomplish to want to keep going,” he said.

He did carve out lifelong memories.

“We laugh a lot. We have fun. I like spending time with him,” said Zander about the months he spent with grandpa.

A bond between grandfather and grandson that is now strong as oak.

Who’s the better craftsman? Darl for now. We’ll see next year when Zander gets his next $20.

Those toys will be distributed by the wood club to different organizations around central Indiana in the coming weeks. The past couple years, the club has distributed thousands of toy cars and trucks, but never from a boy of only 10.