COUNTRY
SANTA Program

Share a Smile with a Child

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Photo of Country SantaThe Country Santa, as he has come be known, is John (Buddy) Cox. He doesn't care to be compared to St. Nick. I am just one of his helpers, he says. Maybe so, but Cox's list of recipients is now over  3000 kids long.

It all started with one first-grade girl, shortly after Cox and his wife Nell moved from Greenville, SC, to tiny Pumpkintown in the northwest corner of the state. The girl arrived at school needing new shoes, and Cox, a water-waste equipment sales engineer, heard about her plight and brought her a pair. It was then that he noticed the tattered condition of her doll. So that Christmas, a replacement doll, the biggest boxed doll I could find, says Cox - arrived under the girl's Christmas tree.

The next year, with names provided by the elementary schools, Cox provided toys to 10 children. By the fifth year the list had grown so long that Cox began soliciting toys, new and used, from the area's more fortunate citizens. He signed up volunteer elves to help deliver them.

In 1986, he built a 900-square-foot warehouse to store toys, which are gathered from collection points throughout the year. The Country Santa building is also where all the toys are bagged for delivery. Before the Country Santa building was built, Cox's home doubled as Santa's workshop. Toys were stacked in every room in the house.

The children's names come to Cox via local schools, churches, and social services agencies. Others find him, and he screens them himself.

Country Santa doesn't limit the gifts to one toy per child. Each child get several toys. Cox says "he try's to give about $50.00 worth of new toys but some maybe used. He if has to give used toys, they have to be in excellent condition.

Cox draws inspiration from his own youth. When he was 10, his dad walked out on the family, leaving his mother to support Buddy and two older sisters in the rural South Carolina town of Cross Hill. "She got a job as a bookkeeper, making $50 a week," Buddy says, and "I know she struggled to put something under the tree for us at Christmas. I realized parents can hurt when they can't give their kids something".

The big event starts in early December. First the toys have to be given, then collected. From there the toys are sorted and bagged in the Country Santa building. This all starts on the first weekend in December. The bagging will continue until Dec. 22nd.

On Christmas Eve, the bags are loaded on trucks and cars and delivered to the children. For more information on how you can help, click here.

Detail Information

Country Santa: John "Buddy" Cox

 

Contact:

 






 

Physical Address:

P.O. Box 856 (418 Johnston Street)
Pickens, SC  29671
(864) 898-4422
Email: Information

Need help, then call 898-4422.  No Names will be taken through email.

112 Reece Lane
Pickens, SC  29671

 

Participants: Needy Children in Oconee and Pickens Counties

 

Revenue: Est. $130,000.00
       - Cash donations
       - New Toys

 

Sec. of State: Charity Database
   

 

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Last modified on: 11/11/2013 .
This page created and maintained by Bob Spalding - Elf