R.J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project
16991 Old U.S. 27 Suite A - Lansing, Michigan ... Mailing Address: PO Box 23181, Lansing, MI 48909-3181

Toy Makers for Disadvantaged and "In Crisis" Children
People do not stop doing things because they get older;
They get older because they stop doing things.

Click here to view a map for getting to our Toy Project location.


Major contributions were received this year from Delta Kiwanis Club, South Lansing Kiwanis, Haslett Kiwanis, and Lansing Kiwanis.

Please Make a Contribution or Donation

Our Toy Project relies on contributions and donations which are tax deductable as charitable contributions. To help us -

Donate Now

Contributions may also be sent by mail to:
   R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project
   P. O. Box 23181
   Lansing, MI 48909-3181

To Make Donations:
   Email: donations@scheffel-toys.org

When you contribute to the Capital Area United Way campaign (Lansing area), please consider designating your donation to the R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project. Thank you.

A Child adds some finishing touches to a Memory Box at Ele's Place in Ann Arbor

Memory Boxes Decorated by Children at Gilda's Club

R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project receives Community Service Award. See story on the right.

Clayton Vandecar celebrates his 99th birthday with the help of other Scheffel elves

Getting Ready for the Open House 2010

Joseph J. Ruth, Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer of Sparrow Hospital presents a check to Sheffel Toys President Dennis Dudley on November 21st, 2007. Observing are Richard C. Northrup (on the left) and Larry Koster

Visit Us on Facebook

Open House Thursday, August 14 from 11 AM to 2 PM


Neighbors in Action: R.J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project

Fire DamageThe R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project was recently featured on WKAR's Neighbors in Action and interviewed Larry Koster, Operations Manager..

Click on the picture to the WKAR story and listen to the interview.

Toy Project Into New Facility at 16991 Old U.S. 27 Suite A - Lansing, Michigan

Fire DamageThe R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project has a new facility ready to go. Everything is pretty much in place so woodcutting equipment is operational, painting supplies are ready for use, and work benches are located for building new toys for needy children. It may be necessary to still look for some tool items and supplies, but the new facility looks much better than it did a couple of weeks ago. Thanks are extended to everyone for getting involved in moving things into place. Toy project volunteers enthusiastically offered to organize items around the new quarters and build new workbenches. Two Men and a Truck helped to move equipment and supplies from the former work site. It was a great effort by many people. Toy building is now finished for 2013 and will not begin again until 2014. The Toy Project will reopen on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM. All the Toy Project volunteers and Board members wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We will see you in the New Year!

Fire at Toy Project

Fire DamageThere was an early morning fire at the R. J. Scheffel Toy Project location at 5937 S. Martin Luther King Blvd on July 30, 2013, prior to 7:00 am. Flames struck at the toy-making facility which produces thousands of playtime treasures each year for needy children. This will idle indefinitely the generous elves who craft wooden toys for needy kids.

The building roof and ceiling received the brunt of the fire damage, but most of the contents received water and smoke damage, including 300 step stools and 265 memory boxes ready for delivery to the Salvation Army and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. The question remains whether these toys be cleaned sufficiently for use by children.

Larry Koster, the operations manager of the Toy Project, Joe Pohl, and Roy Ketcheson are organizing Toy Project volunteers as well as many other helpers to remove all supplies, equipment, and usable materials from the facility. Temporary storage bins are installed for protecting these items from weather elements.

A tent was set up outside the damaged toyshop for use when cleaning toys and as a temporary work area for volunteers. More than 1,000 assembled toys stored inside the shop will be soaked in a special solution to see if they can be salvaged. Incore Disaster Response Contractors of Wixom is supervising the restoration project ahead.

“The nonprofit Scheffel project already shipped about half of its 9,300 orders for 2013 prior to the fire, but it is too early to tell how many of the stored toys can be saved. The building is in worse shape. It will need a new roof, heating and electrical systems, plumbing and drywall before it can be used again for toy making,” Koster said.

According to the Lansing State Journal, “Lansing Fire Department investigators ruled the fire an accident, blaming it on spontaneous combustion of oily rags,” department spokesman Eric Weber said.

The building, owned by the Maple Grove Baptist Church, was insured. The Scheffel Board, including the members of the church, met to discuss work required to repair the building. The Toy Project volunteers will resume their woodworking activities, as soon as all equipment and supplies are cleaned. Repairs to the facility are expected to take 2-3 months.

The R.J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project relies entirely on donations. Click on the "Donate Now" button to the right. Contributions may also be sent to: R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project, P.O. Box 23181, Lansing, MI 48909.

Open House Tentatively Scheduled for October 17, 2013

All friends, neighbors, donors, volunteers, and interested folks are invited to the R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project Open House tentatively scheduled for Thursday, October 17, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the workshop location: 5937 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, in Lansing, Michigan. Open House rescheduled because of fire at the Toy Project on Tuesday, July 30th. Click here to see pictures of the fire.

A light lunch will be served. A special speaker from Ele’s Place will entertain guests. Tours of the toy project workshop provide an opportunity for guests to meet Toy Project volunteers and see how they make wooden toys for needy, disadvantaged, homeless, and in crisis children. This is an excellent opportunity for those interested in volunteering to look around the project at various work activities available.

The Scheffel Toy Project relies heavily upon contributions and donations to buy materials for making special toys for needy children. There are no administrative expenses and all volunteers donate their expertise and time for the Toy Project. All monetary donations are used to buy supplies (lumber, glue, nails, paint, wheels, etc.) and to pay for building rental and utilities.

Volunteers work one, two, or three mornings per week, whenever it fits into their schedules. Some volunteers skip months during winter weeks to take time in warmer climates.

Come see examples of toys made at the Toy Project, including wooden cars of various sizes, memory boxes, helicopters, police cruisers, doll size rocking chairs, small dinosaurs, small pickup trucks, step stools, ducks, crayon boats, crayon trucks, doll beds and cradles, smaller doll cradles along with Barbi-doll beds

More than 30 volunteer retirees work at the Toy Project.

Requests for Memory Boxes Exceed 1,500 for 2013

For the second year in a row, Ele's Place will use 650 Memory Boxes between Lansing, Ann Arbor and now Grand Rapids. The Salvation Army has requested 400. Total requests for Memory Boxes will exceed 1,400 units for 2013.

Shown at left is a picture of a Memory Box being decorated by a child at Ele's Place in Ann Arbor. The Scheffel Toy Project provides both finished or unfinished versions and reports are "...the kids really love these boxes."

Memory Boxes Bring Hope

According to Beth Nelson, LMSW, Program Director for Gilda’s Club, memory boxes made by volunteers at the R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project help to bring hope and brighter spirits to their children, adults, families and friends. Gilda’s Club is a free cancer support community in Grand Rapids area. It is so nice to see how lovely these memory boxes become in the hands of some young artists (children) at Gilda’s Club (see picture at left). The children love to make these into memory boxes for keeping their precious items for their loved ones. Gilda’s Club is so thankful to the Toy Project for bringing these boxes to their attention.

Interview of Larry Koster on Michigan Business Network

Click here to hear an interview of Scheffel Toys' Larry Koster by Chris Holman on Michigan Business Network.

Scheffel Toys Receives Community Service Award

Dennis Dudley, President of the Board, R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project, and Larry Koster, Operations Manager, accepted the South Lansing Business Association’s Community Service Award for 2011 at their annual Awards Dinner. See the picture at left picturing Dudley, Koster and State Rep. Joan Bauer with a resolution from the Michigan Legislature.

Scheffel and Elves In Lansing State Journal


The Lansing State Journal spent some time watching our elves get toys ready for distribution and taking pictures of the action (see LSJ photo at the right)..

Click here to check out the story.

Chronically Ill Child Enjoys Wood Toys

"I wanted to write a little letter to say thank you for all that you do," a mother recently wrote to us. "My 6 year old son is chronically ill and has been at xx hospital 20 times in his short little life so far. He really enjoys painting his wood treasures every time that he is here. It is a great distraction to him. When he is admitted he is usually in isolation so he can’t go to the playroom to play. He proudly displays his creations at home in his own playroom. Thank you again. P.S. The LPD police car is so cute."

The Elves at Scheffel Toys are happy to hear that he is enjoying our toys.

"Wow, your memory boxes are popular! We've used every one of them that you made for us last year. Thanks so much!"

A note from Sarah at Ele's Place

The R. J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project provides wooden toys and games, hand crafted by volunteers, for children who are disadvantaged or in crisis.
Click on "Agencies" to see some of the organizations that we fill "wish lists" for.


© 2015  R.J. Scheffel Memorial Toy Project