Local lends Santa a hand

Published 11:28 am Friday, December 23, 2011

Willie Mae Robinson stands with toys donated from a Greenville native who now lives in Minnesota. The toys are being donated in honor of Mattie Donnell Thigpen and will be given away Dec. 25 at First Missionary Baptist Church. Advocate Staff/Patty Vaughan

Willie Mae Robinson is lending Santa Claus a helping hand.

Robinson is heading up a drive to collect toys for children in the Butler County area. Robinson is calling the drive “Giving Back to the Community.”

Robinson said that people from all over the community and even the nation have donated toys.

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Reverend Eli Thigpen and the Thigpen family donated toys in memory of Mattie Donell Thigpen-Smith. Thigpen-Smith loved to give toys to children at Christmas time.

Robinson has already given a number of toys to the Butler County Optimist Club, New Hope Baptist Church and children in foster homes, and she plans to make a donation of toys to First Missionary Baptist Church at 7 a.m. Christmas day.

“I’ve always been interested in children and trying to giving back to the community,” Robinson said.

“I was a public school teacher, I worked with Girl Scouts for 33 years and I worked with the Butler County Safe Harbor, and I’m with the Historical Society. I was always interested in the community and giving back to the community. They really helped me when I came along 85 years ago.”

All of the toys are new and any child can receive a toy.

Anyone who is interested in donating a toy can contact Robinson at (334) 382-3867.