Tampa General’s ‘Santa’ celebrates 30 years of giving gifts to foster children

Heart of Tampa Bay

TAMPA (WFLA) – A Tampa General Hospital employee who inspires his coworkers and community is celebrating a milestone this holiday season.

This is the 30th year Delwyn Collins and TGH have supported the Foster Angels of Hillsborough County Program.

“He is the ‘Santa Claus’ of Tampa,” Stephanie MacNeel said of Collins. Her parents started the Foster Angel program in the late 1980s.

“I kind of grew up with him because I was a little girl when my dad first met him, so that was 30 years ago he’s like family to me,” she said.

At TGH, Collins is the driving force behind making sure hundreds of local foster children have gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning.

“It makes me feel good and joy and happiness, that’s what it’s about,” Collins told 8 On Your Side.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, and TGH recognized Collins’ 30 years of giving back to the community on Thursday afternoon.

“Mr. Collins, on behalf of all us that are speaking here today, mission accomplished, sir,” Chronister said.

Collins had some medical challenges this past year, but his ‘elves’ at the hospital helped fulfill the holiday wish lists for 500-800 foster children.

“All the nurses, all the doctors, all the employees, they stepped up this year,” MacNeel said, “and they were amazing. They step up every year but this year it was a lot more work.”

Collins buys many of the gifts during the year with money from his paycheck. This year’s batch of presents will be distributed to foster families over the weekend.

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