TAMPA, Fla. — Delwyn Collins is a kitchen worker at Tampa General Hospital for most of the year. But he takes on another role during the holidays.
Collins dons a festive hat and plays Santa Claus for hundreds of children who could use a smile. The 60-year-old has done this for for 29 years.
“I get a thrill out of it, because it’s really all about the kids,” says Collins, who wears a jacket saying #1 Santa for Foster Angels of Hillsborough County.
Collins is the main merry-maker in charge of making sure local foster kids have a gift waiting for them on Christmas morning. And he does it despite being legally blind.
“These are kids who deserve a chance to see the true meaning of Christmas,” Collins says.
Each year, Delwyn hangs “angel” cards on a tree in the hospital's cafeteria. Every card has the name of a foster child and a toy they would love for Christmas.
Hospital staff then chooses a child to help with gifts. Delwyn collects the gifts, wraps them and stores them.
All of the gifts will be presented Thursday around a giant Christmas tree in the hospital courtyard. The gifts will then be delivered to almost 500 of Delwyn’s special angels.