As the memories of the 2012 holiday season have slowly melted away, many will remember the good will initiatives on the Lander University campus that helped many children of all ages have a joyful Christmas. One of the people at the forefront of such an initiative, and one of Santa's many helpers, was Tommy Tumblin, a custodian at Lander who dons a Santa suit and fluffy beard to become "Tommy Claus" each year.
This year Tumblin, aided by Lakelands community members and businesses, helped 286 children and teenagers from Greenwood, Laurens, Abbeville and McCormick counties have a fun-filled holiday through the donation of used and new toys, gift cards and cash.
Donations of toys and cash were made by Lander University groups and individuals, as well as area businesses and churches.
"I think it is very important to recognize Lander students," said Tumblin. "It is hard to go to school and still donate toys and money to a cause like this one. They have done an awesome job."
Some aided Tumblin by volunteering and providing a location to distribute gifts.
"I would like to give a special thanks to Joel Manley, the owner of Joel's Floor Covering, for allowing us to use his business to distribute toys," said Tumblin. "We also had a lot of individuals and groups volunteer to distribute the gifts," he added.
Tumblin was quick to say that when it comes to Tommy Claus, he just wears the suit. He maintains that those individuals and businesses who donated toys and money to this cause are, themselves, Tommy Claus. "I could not do this without them," he said. "I would like to express my thanks to everyone who made this Christmas a happy time for so many children. Thanks to your hard work and contributions we already have a jump start on next year."
Tumblin explained that those wishing to donate toys do not need to wait until the next holiday season; they can contact him anytime during the year. To make a donation to Tommy Claus, contact Tumblin at 864-229-0137.