Meet the one-woman Santa's Workshop

Posted at 7:24 AM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 07:24:05-05

Walk into Ann Smith's home, and you'd think you just stepped into Santa's workshop.

"I've always loved Christmas," said Smith. "It's magical."

But in this factory, they're not building new toys.

"I'm refurbishing those toys, distributing them to needy families, so that they can get their kids a Christmas," said Smith.

She uses everything from fabric softener to stain spray to make sure every toy looks brand new.

"We don't want any kids getting a toy that they can obviously see is used and worn out," said Smith. "We do a lot to fix them up and make them look good."

She remembers a time when her daughter wished for a life size Barbie doll.

"Before I became a nurse, yeah we struggled," said Smith "I was a single mom with four young kids at home, and Christmas was a luxury."

That same doll happened to show up in the donation pile yesterday.

"She was covered in dirt, and she had markings all over her face and her hair was matted," said Emily Shaffer, Ann's daughter.

But after a few hours of brushing and cleaning, the doll looked brand new.

"I was just ecstatic that I was able to give this Barbie to a kid that would want it just as much as I did when I was a kid," said Shaffer.

She says that feeling is what makes all this work worth it. Because at every drop off, they see what an impact they've made.

"Without it, Santa would've just flown right on by my house this year," said one of the families getting the donation. "So I'm grateful."

Grateful people like Ann want to spread that Christmas spirit to everyone.

"It makes me really happy. It really does," said Smith. "It's the best thing I could've given myself for Christmas."

Because the gift of giving is sometimes the best gift of all.


Click here to visit Ann's Facebook group page.