Restoring Smiles: One Toy at a Time

From Right to left: Maddie Starr, Jennifer Boyer, Keith Wiles, and Amanda Negri with their #RestoringKindness Post cards.

Making a Difference Every Day

In the restoration industry, we are fortunate to make a difference in someone’s life each day we show up for work. Acts of kindness and service are not just part of our job—they’re a way of life. During May, the month of #RestoringKindness, we want to highlight how small acts can have a big impact.

Restoring Smiles Through Toys

Amanda Negri and Keith Wiles, two of our dedicated team members, take this to heart, especially when it comes to restoring smiles to children through their toys.

Meticulous Care in Every Step

Keith Wiles thoroughly cleaning Lego pieces.

A few weeks ago, I found Keith meticulously washing over 1,000 Lego pieces in antibacterial Dawn soap. When I asked him about his careful approach, he explained, “The children who receive these toys will likely put them in their mouths. As a father, I think about my kids and want to ensure their safety.” He uses gentle, non-toxic cleaning methods to ensure the toys are safe and clean, reflecting his passion for this task.


The Toy Restoration Journey Begins

Our toy restoration journey began when we helped a family after a fire, saving their soot-covered Lego sculptures. We used our Ultrasonic Cleaning machine, which employs sound waves to create tiny bubbles that clean even the smallest crevices, a process known as cavitation. Amanda Negri estimates that we’ve restored over a million Lego pieces, each one handled with care and dedication.

Amanda Negri’s carefully restored “Gang of Winnie the Pooh”. 

Before and after pictures of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, restored by Amanda Negri.

Passion and Dedication

Jennifer Boyer, our Restoration Manager, and other employees agree that Amanda and Keith are our most passionate toy restorers. Amanda’s most memorable experience involved restoring a child’s entire Winnie the Pooh collection. Despite the heavy soot damage, she spent a full day meticulously cleaning, drying, and deodorizing the stuffed animals until they were spotless. The children were so grateful that they gave her a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy, which she treasures to this day.

Overcoming Obstacles

Restoring toys is not without its challenges. Some toys are too damaged to be safely restored, which can be heartbreaking. However, we do everything we can to clean and deodorize them, knowing how much sentimental value they hold.

Why Restore Toys?

Amanda Negri with the Ultrasonic cleaning machine.

Why do we restore children’s toys after a loss? Because children are our future, and their toys provide comfort and security. Amanda recalls how her daughter, Callie, reacts when she loses a toy and empathizes with the children she helps. Our team follows strict safety procedures, using non-toxic processes and tools like the Ultrasonic Cleaner to ensure thorough cleaning.

The Restoration Process

Toys are carefully packed, photographed, inventoried, and bubble-wrapped at the site before being brought to our facility for restoration. There, we assess each toy to determine the best restoration method, whether by hand washing or using the Ultrasonic Cleaner.

Communication and Care

Communication with customers is crucial. While our field staff packs the toys, Keith restores them without ever meeting the families. He imagines his children while working, treating each toy with care and attention. Amanda, a new mom, was committed to restoring toys even before having her child, understanding how much they mean to the kids.

Maddie Starr guides toys through the Drying Tunnel.

Christmas in May

Amanda believes that receiving restored toys feels like Christmas for the children. She loves imagining their joy as they open the boxes to find their familiar, clean, and fresh-smelling toys. Our goal is to return as many restored toys as possible to help children get back to “kid normal.”

Equal Care for All Toys

Keith wisely notes that we don’t always know which toy is a child’s favorite, so we handle each one with equal care. Amanda adds that children often can’t articulate their favorites, so we treat all their toys with the utmost respect and attention. By doing this, we hope to bring a bit of happiness and normalcy back to their lives.

Committed to Restoring Kindness

In May, and every month, we are committed to restoring kindness, one toy at a time.

At BERKS · FIRE · WATER RESTORATIONS, Inc.℠, we are dedicated to kindness and proud participants of the #RestoringKindness movement with C&R Magazine! Learn more here

Explore our Content Restoration services here to protect your belongings from water or fire damage through cleaning and restoration instead of replacing them. (Depending on the extent of the damage.)