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Delivering Smiles to Children and Families for 38 years

Country+Santa+children+packaging+presents
Country Santa children packaging presents

Country Santa children packaging presents

Bob Spalding

Bob Spalding

Country Santa children packaging presents

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Buddy Cox of Pumpkintown, SC has helped impoverished children at Christmas for over 38 years. He is known as the “COUNTRY SANTA.” Country Santa takes referrals from local schools, government agencies, United Christian Ministries, the Salvation Army, and personal call-ins.  A profile sheet is completed for each family, including the children’s social security numbers, ages, and gender in order to screen for legitimate need and circumstances.

The Country Santa program collects toys and accepts donations year-round. There is a Christian Auction that brings in hundreds of toys throughout the year as buyers bid on toys and then donate them to Country Santa.  However, the majority of donations are received at annual giving opportunities held in November and December.  On the Saturday following Thanksgiving a Toy Ride for Country Santa helped stock the shelves.  On December 3rd a Country Santa Clash wrestling event featuring Ivan Nikita Koloff and Magnum TA was held at Liberty High School.  The Country Santa Classic Golf Tournament is scheduled for later in the month of December.

Buddy Cox started the Country Santa program in 1978 when he recognized a need to aid families in the rural areas of Pickens and Greenville by providing Christmas gifts and food.  The program has grown from serving 32 children in the first year to helping approximately 1100 families with over 3000 children in 2016.  The Country Santa program plans to share an estimated $175,000 worth of gifts and food with families this Christmas.  Buddy Cox explains, “For the past ten years, we averaged 3200 children who have received around $50.00 each in gifts not including bicycles and other riding toys.”

Additionally, Country Santa places drop boxes in a variety of businesses in Pickens, Greenville, and Easley labeled with “Share a smile with a child.”  Country Santa accepts donations of new toys, stuffed animals, games, bath sets, jewelry, make-up and bicycles.  Donations of items appropriate for older children or teens are needed currently.  Nelle Cox (Mrs. Country Santa) says, “Our teen area is usually harder to keep in stock because more donations come in for smaller children.”

Many volunteers (or “elves”) aid the Country Santa program.  The sorting and bagging of toys and food will begin on December 22nd.  On Christmas Eve, over 100 people will deliver the items to families across upstate South Carolina.  Each bag contains a red sheet that says “With love from Jesus and Country Santa.”  Buddy Cox says, “Without the miracle of God’s provision, we could not achieve what happens every year.”

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