Happy Factory honored with new street name-“Happy Factory Lane”2 min read

By May Hunter

Cedar City’s 2175 West will now be known as Happy Factory Lane, the sign will now also say “Happy Factory Lane.”
Donna Cooley and Neal Smith asked the Cedar City Council if “Happy Factory Lane” could be added to the street sign or a second sign, featuring the new name could be installed. The proposal received a positive recommendation from the City’s planning commission. Happy Factory was founded in 1995 in a small Cedar City workshop after Charles and Donna Cooley “became aware that many children have never had a toy.” Since then, they’ve shipped toys worldwide and donated them to Primary Children’s Medical Center, Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center, and many others.
Happy Factory’s Neal Smith said the nonprofit has shipped nearly 1.8 million toys. On the sign change, he said: “To us, it would be a good thing, I think Donna would smile.” When Charles and Donna Cooley retired from Southern Utah University in 1995, they began producing and giving away small animal cut-outs. Children found them so appealing that they began regular deliveries 250 miles north to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City and soon, says Charles, “We got more hugs there than we did at a family reunion.” A free pickup truck load of hardwood strips inspired Charles to design and make small cars and trucks, painted by Donna, which are warmly welcomed in Salt Lake City as well at Shiner’s Hospital and the Humanitarian Center. Happy Factory toys start out as simple blocks of scrap wood but become tokens of love and caring-dedicated to providing toys to children around the world.
“We couldn’t make a drop on the bucket for a need like that,” said Charles. But he was told “One toy may be only a drop in the bucket of the world’s need, but it’s a big drop for the child who gets it.” That changed the Cooley’s hobby into a full-time labor of love and inspired a motto: “We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world who needs one, but we’re going to try.” Soon volunteer helpers signed on, and production increased. Today more than 50 volunteers help at the Happy Factory, about 800-1000 toys are made each week. The wood is donated from Timberline. They are always looking for volunteers to help in the wood shop.
“Donne’s kindness knows no bounds,” said Amanda Messer, the Vice President of the Happy
Factory Board Of Trustees, “her selflessness is an inspiration to all of us, she’s devoted to her husband’s legacy at the Happy Factory, she embodies the true spirit of love and service.”

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