Tampa General Toy Drive to Give Hope to 2,000 Eckerd Foster Kids

On December 16, a semi-truck will be needed to pick up gifts generously donated by Tampa General Hospital (TGH) employees, making the holidays a whole lot brighter for area foster children served by Eckerd Community Alternatives. TGH is among the oldest and largest holiday gift donors to Foster Angels of Hillsborough County, a nonprofit organization led by volunteers that facilitates the collection of holiday gifts for Hillsborough foster children.

For 25 years, TGH’s holiday toy drive has been fueled by the passion and example set by one of its veteran employees, Delwyn Collins, who serves as a dishwasher and kitchen assistant at TGH and personally donates hundreds of gifts that he’s collected over the course of a year.  He even takes on extra work outside the hospital and saves all year to buy gifts – he is truly the heart and soul behind TGH’s spirit of giving.

Foster Angels of Hillsborough County, Inc. was founded in 1988 by Melvin MacNeel, a foster father who experienced the need first-hand.  In the 1980’s, the MacNeel’s were foster parents with 7 biological children of their own when they received a phone call on Christmas Eve that a sibling group of four children had been removed from their home due to abuse/neglect and would be placed in their foster home.  And at that time, no stores were open to purchase holiday gifts for them so the MacNeel’s quickly divided the gifts they had purchased for their own children to ensure every child in their home had gifts to open on Christmas Day. In 2013, we grieved the loss of Melvin MacNeel, however we are blessed to have his children to continue his legacy with foster angels.

Eckerd Community Alternatives is grateful to Foster Angels of Hillsborough County; Tampa General Hospital; and the many other Tampa Bay organizations whose employees, patrons and partners collected toys for the Foster Angels program this year to include:  7-11; USF; Moffit Cancer Center; and James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital.                                    

WHAT:          Tampa General Hospital employees will present the thousands of gifts their employees collected for Eckerd foster children and Delwyn Collins will give remarks. The gifts will be presented to Eckerd and to Foster Angels of Hillsborough County to ensure every foster child served by Eckerd has gifts to open on Christmas morning.

WHEN:          Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm

WHERE:       Tampa General Hospital, 1 Tampa General Circle, Tampa, FL 33606-3571
(Media should pull up to the main entrance and ask the valet personnel for the closest place to park and leave their cars.)

WHO:             Remarks will be given by representatives from Tampa General Hospital, Foster Angels of Hillsborough County, and Eckerd Community Alternatives.  Interview and photo opps with Delwyn Collins of TGH and other TGH employees.