News Item

Lander's Tommy Claus Kicks Off His Annual Christmas Toy Collection

October 29, 2014
Tommy Claus is making a list and will check it many more times than twice as he prepares to brighten the Christmas season for needy children in the Greenwood area.

Tommy Claus is the alter ego of Tommy Tumblin, who works in Lander University’s Physical Plant. About this time each year, Tumblin begins his quest to collect donated toys on campus and in the community to give away to youngsters of all ages.

The campaign will be kicked off on Saturday, Nov. 1, by the youth of New Life Baptist Church of Greenwood. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the group will be in the parking lot of the Hobby Lobby store at 315 Hwy. 72 Bypass, accepting new, unwrapped toys for the Tommy Claus giveaway.

Soon thereafter, collection boxes will appear in different locations, including on the Lander campus, as faculty, staff and students continue their tradition of donating toys. Three Lander sororities: Phi Mu, Zeta Tau Alpha and Gamma Phi Beta, will each have collection boxes on campus and the members will engage in friendly competition to fill them.

In addition to Lander, the Tommy Claus campaign has captured the attention of many businesses and individuals in the community who donate toys and, in some cases, money. Last year, Tumblin’s warehouse was so full of donated gifts that he was able to give toys, stuffed animals and books to 310 children.

He also received cash and checks totaling more than $400, which he spent to purchase gift cards from local merchants to give to older children and teenagers.

Tumblin has dedicated this year’s toy drive to Martha and Bud Simmons, who have played the role of helpers over the years. He also receives the support of his mother and father.

Tumblin said this year’s toy giveaway will take place on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13, at Joel’s Floor Covering, 902 Montague Ave., in Greenwood.