Community effort brings Christmas to thousands of Upstate childr - FOX Carolina 21

Community effort brings Christmas to thousands of Upstate children

Posted: Updated:
(FOX Carolina)/Dec. 22, 2017 (FOX Carolina)/Dec. 22, 2017
PICKENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Christmas elves are hard at work at Country Santa headquarters in Pickens County.  The effort is led by Buddy Cox, who's helped thousands of families over the past 40 years.

The program provides Christmas gifts to over 3,000 kids each year, and Country Santa depends on lots volunteers and donations of toys from the community 

This year, some of the donations are coming from a Pickens County Councilman.  Wes Hendricks has started a bike refurbishing program, saving used bikes from the trash, and giving them a second life for Upstate children.

Hendricks said, "I noticed people were throwing away bicycles...really nice bicycles. They were serviceable and usable and they were going in the recycling bin."

So he decided to do something about it.  He got with other county employees and organized an effort to work with local prisoners to refurbish the bikes.

"The main thing is making sure these children in Pickens County and surrounding areas who are impoverished have these bicycles so they'll have a Christmas present under the tree," said Hendricks.

Hendricks said he knew who could help make sure the bikes go to those in need this Christmas season.  The bikes were dropped off at Country Santa headquarters in Pickens.  The bikes are just some of thousands and thousands of toy donations, all of which are appreciated by the program.

Sandy Hamilton has been a volunteer for the past ten years with Country Santa. 

"Even though the economy is going up a little bit it takes a little bit to recover when you're giving gifts for children, so those who are in council, those that are public figures, that's a big help, that's a huge help," said Hamilton.

Hamilton said the need for toy donations at Christmas is great in Pickens County.   

"This is Christmas for those who won't get Christmas," said Hamilton. "It's helping parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We've got foster children that come through the system."

Volunteers are now organizing the gifts for delivery to families on Christmas Eve, when Upstate children will find everything from dolls to bikes under their Christmas trees - all thanks to a huge community effort.

"There are children who won't have Christmas," said Hamilton. "Everybody needs Christmas."

If you have old bikes you want to donate to be refurbished, Councilman Hendricks said you can drop them off at the Pickens County Administrative Offices.

And if you want to help out the Country Santa program, Cox said they are still in need of monetary donations.  You can donate through their website here.

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