Woodworking Group Club Project for Christmas

I belong to a small (about 20 active members) woodworking group in my area. We recently started discussing how it might be possible to do something for our community at Christmas. One of our initial ideas is to try and make some toys and donate them to a local orphanage or perhaps a women's shelter. As we talked about this more, the topic of liability came up and what could we do to protect ourselves legally. None of us are lawyers, so we're a bit in the dark on this.
I've seen the web sites for some other woodworking clubs out there, and it seems that there are a variety of groups out there that are making toys for Christmas and able to give them away. So what's the secret? Did your group just get lucky and wind up with a member that's also a lawyer that has taken care of this for your group? Or is there some other trick, like selling/auctioning off the stuff your group makes through some sort of middle-man that would then shield your group from any litigious idiots, then you just donate the money to whatever charity.
In short, how do we do we put our craft and skills to use as woodworkers to do something nice, without getting sued?
Thanks.
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Michael Faurot wrote:

If you are worried about something like this, then you probably shouldn't do it. I have made many, many things for kids and even adults and given them away and never even thought about being sued. Has it come to the point in this country where people are now saying; I would sure like to help someone, but I don't want to get sued?
For what its worth, I don't donate my time and money on projects in order to get any recognition. I just do it because it is right and good and it makes me feel good. Most of the recipients don't even know who I am. So if you want to do it, you could do it anonymously. Even if someone had the nerve to sue a charitable person for their charitable act, who would they sue?
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For years our group has been making toys at Christmas and giving them to the USMC Reserve "Toys for Tots" program. Contact any USMC recruiting station or reserve center and they will fill you in on the details. I believe the program was started by the USMC Reserves in about 1948. In many cases such toys, wooden cars, trains, etc are the only toys many kids will get. It is one of the most worthwhile progams that I have ever had the fortune to participate in.
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pat snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

Thanks for the idea, I'll contact the local chapter of Toys for Tots in my groups' area and see what they've got to say.
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That's certainly going to be the reality if there's not a way to do this that doesn't require putting a lawyer on retainer.

So have I--as an individual. But then I knew who I was giving the things to. Our group won't necessarily have that option.

Sure, it's been that way for a long time. No sense debating or moaning about it--this is the reality. The question is how to deal with it.

That might be an option. Thanks for the idea.
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Michael Faurot wrote:

There is a San Bernardino outfit called Santa Claus, Inc. I make "totes" (think of a small carpenter's tool box) in Feb and March for distribution to needy kids the following Christmas. The time following March is for other volunteers to paint and decorate the totes. I (and any other woodworker around) will make 50 to 100 of these every year and it gives one a good feeling.     ho, ho, ho,     jo4hn
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That is a nice thing you do, Sir. Truly wish I had more time for that kinda thing myself.
tips hat r
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That's similar to what my group would like to do, but with an organization that's local to us. When your group established a relationship with Santa Claus, Inc., did they have requirements or stipulations on what could be donated, or were they just glad to accept whatever your group had to offer?
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Our woodworkers' group runs stuff through the County and their network of organizations. And we're sort-of affiliated with the Adult Ed center, so there's a piece of public facility sort of there.
Good for you folks for doing this!
Patriarch
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I don't know if our local county has something similar, but that'll be something to investigate.
Thanks for the tip!
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Michael Faurot wrote:

for some years. My understanding is that the design for the totes came from Santa Claus, Inc. In the past, there have been doll beds to build. Both are simple designs and reasonably easy to build. They have a deal with a local purveyor of reasonably good plywood to supply same plus a cutting diagram. So it's saw, saw, saw. Then nail, nail, nail. Then Spackle, Spackle, Spackle. Then sand, sand (note only two of those ;-) ). Then it's ready to be trucked to Santa... for the painters and decorators to futz with. It takes me several days to do 50 or 60, but then I'm easily distracted.
You could probably put together your own company to build and decorate, using the Marines or some other charitable organization to distribute.
    mahalo,     jo4hn
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I don't know if any of the groups in our area are working in a similar manner, such that they're looking for help in building/making specific items. But that does give me an idea for a different spin on things, in which instead of making toys, we could contact these groups and see if they need anything that could be made by woodworkers, that would help them in their endeavors.
Thanks for the ideas.
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Once upon a time, about 15 years ago, I was recruited to help three other woodworkers in my area to do just what you are hoping to do. We made about 5 dozen articulated pull toys. Sort of a small assembly line set-up. We got together one night a week. Bodies one week. Legs, the next. Etc, etc. I believe they actually used a local church as a "middle man" to distribute the toys in bunches to other goups. Hope this helps.

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Yes, thanks. Working through a local church sounds like it could be a great way to do this.
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As I was reading your post and the replies something stirred in the back of my mind. Many lawyers are in groups that provide free legal advice to non-profit groups, may be a way of repaying some sort of student loans/grants/scholarships. We used them with a single parents group I belonged to back in the 90s when we planned fundraisers and such. I'd check your state's bar association to see if such an organization exist.
It is a sad note that those trying to help have to got to such lengths to protect themselves.
Mike Watch for the bounce. If ya didn't see it, ya didn't feel it. If ya see it, it didn't go off. Old Air Force Munitions Saying

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Thanks for the idea. I'll have to check that out.
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