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Real life Santa builds and donates toys to sick children during the holidays

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SEATTLE -- Tony Milanowski is embodying the spirit of Santa this holiday season by going to local schools and making toys that he donates to sick children.

About two years ago, Milanowski created the nonprofit Toys That Make Smiles.

“I don’t refer to them as toys, I refer to them as smiles. Because it brings actual smiles to the kids at the hospital, the kids at the schools, wherever we’re working with them at,” he said.

Milanowski says he’s always had a love for wood-working and wanted to turn that into a way to give back to the community.

He travels from school to school, teaching children how to build the wooden toys.

“What better way to do something I’m in love with and have a passion, and help people at the same time,” he said.

On Wednesday, he visited Ingraham High School in Seattle. With the help of about 30 students, Milanowski added to the hundreds of toys he’s built over the last two years.

He then travels to local hospitals, and with the help of sick children, adds paint and finishing touches to the wooden toys. He donates them to the children in the hospital.

“It gives them something to look forward to. It makes them feel good, even if it’s brief,” said Milanowski.

He donates toys to Seattle Children’s Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, and Ronald McDonald Houses across the coast.

For more information on Toys That Make Smiles or to get involved, click here.

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