Happy Factory offering special tours October 4th – 7th

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The Happy Factory has postponed its annual open house and gala this year. Instead, we are offering special tours October 4th-7th from 9a.m. to 4p.m. Normally, the Happy Factory has a fall celebration and fund-raiser, but has postponed the 2021 version because of the disruption the recent floods have had on so many people’s lives in our community.

Happy Factory volunteers will offer free tours highlighting the various steps to making the toys, from tracing and cutting out the wood, to sanding, oiling, and “wheeling”.  At the end of the tour visitors can receive a free toy car, and learn about volunteering or donating to the Happy Factory.

“The purpose of the tours is really threefold” said Donna Cooley, who founded the Happy Factory with her husband, Charles, in 1995. “We mainly want everybody in the community to visit and see firsthand what we do here. Then, if they would like, they can learn more about volunteering or donating to the Factory. We always need more volunteers, and we always need more financial resources.”

Many of the supplies to build the toys are donated however, it still takes about one dollar to make every toy; this pays for equipment, maintenance, and items such as saw blades, sandpaper, and wheels and axles for the toy cars. Donations are not required for the tours, but any amount would be appreciated.

“The spirit of the Happy Factory is infectious,” said Donna Cooley,  “Come, visit us and see why!”


Iron County Fair Honors Donna Cooley and The Happy Factory by naming her Grand Marshall

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Donna Beth Wilde Cooley was born on August 23,1935, near the end of the Great Depression. She was born in Oakley, Summit County, Utah, to a happy, loving family, the youngest of four children. “We knew what poverty was but made the best of everything possible living in a small farming community,” she says of her early days.

She enjoyed a fun childhood in Oakley, with lots of cousins around, playing “Run Sheepy Run” and all the old street games at night.

When she was fifteen years old, she moved with her family to Salt Lake City where her father worked making cheese in a dairy. She graduated from Granite High School in 1953 and then worked for eighteen months at General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Salt Lake City from 1953 to 1955. She worked in accounting offices for thirty-four years, twenty-five of those years at Southern Utah University as head cashier.

Donna married Charles T. Cooley on November 25, 1955. Together they had two daughters, Jolene Cooley Lee and Kristine Cooley. They were married for fifty-five years, until Charles’s death in 2011.

Donna retired from Southern Utah University on July 1,1995. Soon after, she and Charles started making small toys in their garage. That fun hobby grew eventually into the Happy Factory, a non-profit, strictly volunteer organization that has now shipped over 1,600,000 toys to needy children worldwide. “I love spending several hours every day at the Happy Factory,” she says. “This is one of my greatest fulfilled dreams.”

We are so happy to be able to Celebrate Donna Cooley and The Happy Factory! Her dream, determination and hard work has helped to change the lives of children in Utah and around the world.  As Charles Cooley said, ” We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world that needs one-but we’re going to try!”


Thanks to Boulevard Home Furniture Store for their Generous Donation to The Happy Factory

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BlvdHome organized a fundraiser from June 7–26, where customers at the company’s St. George, Cedar City and Mesquite locations could earn a discount if they pledged money to local charities. We are so grateful that The Happy Factory was among those chosen to be a part of this wonderful event.

Steve Manwaring, creative director for BlvdHome, helped to organize the fundraiser and said one of the best parts of the event was that customers chose which of the charities their donation would support. “One of our core values at BlvdHome is charitable contribution,” he said.

Our appreciation goes out to those at BlvdHome and everybody who was willing to donate to The Happy Factory. It is because of donations like these that we are able to continue to do the work that we do! “We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world that needs one-but we’re going to try!”

Thank You for the Awesome Cars!

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A preschool in Troy Idaho recently received some of our small wooden cars and trucks. A thank you note arrived not long after saying, “Thank you for the Awesome cars! The preschool kids loved playing with them. Here are their car drawings to say Thank You. Love, Troy Preschool AM and PM classes”.

The photos were so cute we wanted to share them.

As always, we appreciate the many people who volunteer their time and talents or donate money to The Happy Factory. We love making children smile. To learn more on ways to donate click on the “how you can help” tab in our menu.


Elementary students learn how to practice kindness by sharing Happy Factory toys with others

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Recently we sent boxes of toys to 2 different elementary schools in Utah. The children who participated received two toys each and were challenged to share one of them with somebody else.  A teacher from Red Mountain Elementary wrote saying, “One first-grade class decided to share with a second-grade class. This second-grade class then shared with another second-grade class! Every single first and second grader received a toy car/truck. As I watched students go home from school, they were ecstatic with their Happy Factory toy. Students were running up to me to show me their new treasure with elation! Happy Factory has brought hundreds of smiles to our students.”

Thanks to all who donate their time, talents, supplies or money to help make our non-profit organization a success.


The Happy Factory is proud to be a part of Operation Christmas Child

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At the Happy Factory our motto is; “We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world that needs one-but we’re going to try!” Last year Operation Christmas Child reached over 9 million children with gifts hope and relief. We are proud to support this great organization and look forward to continue working with them.

Click on our “How You Can Help” section in the menu to learn more.

Marching Through Another Month and Ready to Ship More Toys!

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The end of the month is a busy time here at the Happy Factory as we prepare to ship out toys!

We greatly appreciate all of the donations and especially the time our volunteers are willing to spend here building these wooden cars and trucks. These toys are not as simple as they may seem. In many cases they are a gift that helps unlock a child’s ability to think and to cope with the world around them. In many more cases they act as therapeutic tools for children suffering from severe physical and emotional problems. In ALL cases they provide a smile!

Hearing “Thank-You” makes the Happy Factory Volunteers Happy!

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At the Happy Factory we are SO excited to receive  Thank-you notes with stories of how our toys are helping children in need. Here are a few we want to share with you.

“I do patient registration at our local hospital. One of my coworkers keeps a box of your little wooden cars/trucks in his desk to give out to children. I’ve given out a number of them-most recently the little boy I gave one to was over the moon to get a truck! His face lit up when I handed it to him and it kept him happily occupied while he was with me. He was also polite enough to offer it back when we were through. You can imagine that he was even happier to earn that he got to keep the toy. Thank you so much!!”  -Nicholas

“My grandson had to go to the hospital for some blood tests and was given one of your cars. It made all the difference in his experience at the hospital. It relieved anxiety and fear with joy and curiosity. It comforted my daughter in a scary situation and allowed her to feel of your love. Thank you so much for your kindness. We are thankful for you and the love you are sharing with others”  -Michelle

“We would like to thank you for the box of amazing hand made cars and trucks. It was a blessing to be able to give to each child in our Angel Tree Program. We adopt children during Christmas to help supplement those going through tough times. We had 32 children that were able to receive 3 cars each. We also have been able to hand a few out through our Social Service Office. We appreciate all you do! God Bless!” -The Salvation Army


How has COVID-19 affected The Happy Factory?

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Many people have asked if The Happy Factory is still up and running with COVID 19 and the answer is YES!

Like everybody else, we have had to learn how to adapt to new procedures because of health restrictions, but work at The Happy Factory continues to move forward allowing us to deliver toys for children throughout the state, country and world.

The Happy Factory is open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 4pm. We are not able to accommodate large groups at this time but individuals are invited to come and participate in the work. If you have any questions feel free to contact us through email or call us at 435-586-8352.

Thanks from Kenya

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The founder and director of Kids For Christ Ministry located in Gichagi-Ngong, Kenya writes,

“I received a box of 100 toy cars. Our pre-school children were so happy to see those beautiful cars. They really like playing with them. Our children are from very poor families and many of them never had a toy car. They are living in a slum area and life is very difficult. Now they are happy to play with the cars at our school. I am so thankful to receive those toy cars and I thank God for your sacrifice and love towards many children around the world. You are doing an amazing job!”