Reader's Digest recognizes local man's spirit of giving

6:51 PM, Dec 3, 2010   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
Laura Byrne Video Stories
More Laura Byrne Stories

Tampa, Florida --  Not much has changed about 52-year-old Delwyn Collins during the last 21 years.

You'll still find him riding his bike in South Tampa as he goes to and from work at Tampa General Hospital where he works as a dishwasher.

This time of year, you'll also spot him wearing a Santa had, carefully arranging angels on the Foster Angels tree at TGH in his off hours.

More info: Hillsborough County's Foster Angels Program

The tree holds a special place in his heart.  With each angel representing a foster child in Hillsborough County, it's his intent to make sure they know someone out there is thinking about them.

"It's hard for these kids right now.  I can understand what they're going through.  You don't have your real family and you're staying with someone lese you really don't know who they are right now," he explained to 10 News.

"They say, you made us feel good.  We see you alot.  You show people there is somebody out there that cares for us and that's what it's all about," he smiled.

This year marks the 21st year Collins has worked to save up his money for Hillsborough County's Foster Angels program, which ensures each child in foster care gets a gift during the holidays.

Collins says he uses all of his overtime pay and money he earns from side jobs to buy gifts for kids.  Last year, he was able to purchase more than 300 gifts.

That spirit of giving caught the attention of Reader's Digest magazine, which featured him in this month's edition along with four other people in the article:  5 Stories that Celebrate the Spirit of Giving.

And yet, he remains modest.

"It's not about me, it's about all of us," he said.

He says a family from Texas read the article and were so touched by his story, they traveled from their vacation spot in West Palm Beach to meet with Collins one on one.

"It made my Christmas right there, it made there's too," he said.

While the article has given him a glimpse of the national spotlight, his attention is focused on the children because this year the need is greater than ever.

Mac McNeel, the founder of the Foster Angels program says in the program's 22 year history, they've never seen the need this great.

This year, nearly 3,000 children are on the donation list, compared to 1,500 last year.

"We need help," said Collins, "We need to get everybody involved to reach out to a kid this year."

As he's asking others to stop by Tampa General Hospital to pick up one of the paper angels from the cafeteria tree, he's also making the extra effort to help.

"This year I did a lot of overtime.  I did more and above this year for the kids because of the help they need this year," he said.

He says he's often asked why puts his own hard earned money to help so many kids.  His reply is always the same, "I do it out of my heart."

You can help the Foster Angels program by picking up a paper angel from trees located at Tampa General Hospital, Brandon Regional Hospital, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, MacDill Air Force Base or at several area churches.

The deadline is winding down.  TGH is asking all donations be in by December 14th.

You can also sponsor a group by calling the program at: (813) 225-1105 ext. 1139.



10 News

Most Watched Videos