WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI)- There are only three days left until Santa Claus comes to leave presents under our tree. Some in West Point experienced Christmas early courtesy of a secret Santa.
Hundreds of parents and children gathered today at the Marshall Park Recreational Hall in West Point to receive free gifts from a real life Santa. This event began thanks to the efforts of one local woman who’s Christmas spirit grew as her body got smaller.
After being hospitalized due to obesity problems Darlene Cox decided it was time to make a change. While she was losing weight she set a goal that would keep her motivated throughout the process. That’s when she decided to give back to the community by becoming a secret santa.
“I started this event eight years ago through my weight loss. I used to weigh over 360 pounds. So I decided to lose weight if every 50 pounds I gave back to the community 50 toys,” says Darlene Cox.
Those 50 pounds turned into 150 pounds; which meant more toys for the children. It wasn’t long until people throughout the community wanted to be a part of her cause.
“The community decided to increase it. And it grew to over 2,500 toys,” says Cox.
Volunteer, Gregory McMichaels, says he has seen the need in the community grow right along with the givers.
“For the last past five to six years I have been involved with Mrs. Cox secret Santas and it’s growing. She is always doing a lot of great things in the community the community of West Point,” says Gregory McMichaels.
Over the years Gregory has seen Mrs. Cox’s secret santa efforts extend long after the holidays.
“Well just seeing the joy of just being around people and the little kids just take a part in the community in general that’s what I like to do,” says McMichaels.
And no matter how old you are, Gregory says it’s the little things that make the holiday truly magical.
“I love Christmas music and Santa Claus is over there and I can’t wait to see him,” says McMichaels.
Sally Kate Winters donated more than 2,00 items and the U.S. Army donated more than one hundred and fifty.