EARLTON - Francois Gauthier has been helping out Saint Nick, the Earlton Lions Club, the Coeur du Village and the Christmas Wish - all with one well-crafted project.
At the beginning of 2022, Gauthier began crafting 175 cars from blocks of maple and walnut.
The cars are now completed and ready to donate to the Christmas Wish for distribution among area children.
Area sponsors have supported the project, and eight businesses have provided $50 per car to have their business name painted on the front of the car. It began with Earlton RV.
"I started by going to see my good friend Richard Taché at Earlton RV and I asked him what he thought of the project, and he bought 50," explained Gauthier.
Encouraged by that, he approached other businesses and "they all said yes."
The money raised is being used, in part, for the purchase of the materials ($25 per car), and the remaining $25 per car is being divided between the Earlton Lions Club and the Coeur du Village, which are two projects close to Gauthier's heart. He is a past president of the Lions and has been the spearheading figure in the construction of the Village (a new community centre in downtown Earlton, at the site of the former Grocery King).
The project has raised a total of $8,750 with the hand-made toys available for the Christmas Wish, and providing funds for the Lions and Coeur du Village.
Gauthier said he had been aiming for 200 cars, but ran out of time due to the Village project which was completed this fall.
"Woodworking is a hobby of mine," he said, although he hasn't been doing it much for the past two years while he focused on Coeur du Village.
While renovating the Village he used end cuts from the Elk Lake planing mill to make items which he sold to raise money for the Village, he related. He also made coffee tables and other items from the wood torn out of the former Grocery King building, and sold them to raise money for the project.
"I always had something on the go," he said.
Sponsors of the project are Earlton RV, Brownlee Equipment, Earlton Timber Mart, Koch Farms, Green Tractors, Nor-Arc Auto Service Centre, Angel Wood Enterprises, and Desjardins Group Financial Services.
Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker