Country Santa gearing up for Christmas

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PUMPKINTOWN — Things are busy at the Pumpkintown home of Buddy Cox. Volunteers report there daily to bag toys for the thousands of children who have Christmas joy delivered to them Christmas Eve.

“We have members of the Dacusville Lions Club here now,” Cox said earlier this week. “We’ve got kids from Easley High School coming later tonight. It’s amazing how many good people we have who are willing to work to make sure some child they don’t know has a good Christmas.”

Collecting toys for giving has become a way of life for Cox, who is an engineer in Pickens. When he married and moved to Pumpkintown years ago, he noticed that some of his neighbors would not be able to provide Christmas presents for their children. So he bought gifts and presented them as Country Santa to each family.

“We do what we do for the children, but it’s for the parents as well,” Cox said. “I can’t imagine having to tell your children, who you love more than anything in the world, you can’t buy them Christmas presents. It would break my heart if I were in that situation, and I need to try to keep as many people as possible out of that situation.”

Cox grew up poor, and often his mother had to depend on kindness from church members to provide any kind of Christmas each year.

“I feel that since I benefitted from the kindness of people when I was growing up, it’s up to me to give back to folks today,” Cox said. “If I don’t, it would be like spitting in the face of all the ones who helped me.”

Cox has many “elves” who help him gather, store and sort the toys each year.

“I’ve seen parents who bring their children here to teach them true values,” Cox said. “We’ve had a few people who received toys one year come the next to help deliver. Of course, we’ve been doing this a long time and occasionally we have a kid come up here to help who received gifts from Country Santa. They know what a difference it can be to get something Christmas morning.”

Cox tries to screen his clients, but he does not eliminate many from his list.

“If that child is on my list, that means somebody — a teacher, a friend, a family member, or somebody, was concerned that the child may not receive anything for Christmas,” Cox said. “I’ve heard some who say the parents could do better if they tried, but we’re talking about a child. If we don’t help that child feel love now, how is he going to become a responsible adult?

“There may be some kids who receive help from us who did not deserve it, but think about the one child who deserves our help and does not get it.”

The needs for this year are many. Right now, Cox is having trouble getting enough toys for older boys and preschool children.

“Shoot, we could use a few footballs,” Cox said.

Any donations are appreciated.

Elves will arrive at Cox’s Pumpkintown residence on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts.

“We never know who will show up, but there are always plenty,” Cox said.

For more information, call (864) 898-4422.