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Oklahoma Teen Shakes Off Shyness, Becomes Santa with a Whopping 54,000 Toys!



Quick Smiles:

  • Reed Marcum, a once shy kid from McAlester, Oklahoma, has been spreading joy by collecting and giving away 54,000 toys to kids in his hometown.
  • Despite being a university freshman, Reed continues to drive two-and-a-half hours home to participate in the annual toy drive, now in its seventh year.
  • Reed’s charitable work doesn’t stop at toys – he also holds silent auctions for pediatric cancer patients and continues to organize backpack giveaways.

Reed Marcum was just a kid when he discovered a sad truth: not every child in his hometown of McAlester, Oklahoma, had the joy of finding toys under their Christmas tree. As a shy kid who knew all too well what it felt like to be left out, this realization hit him hard.

Despite his parents’ divorce when he was only seven, there were always folks around who made sure his Christmas was filled with joy. So, the thought of his fifth-grade friend waking up to an empty tree was a tough pill to swallow.

Instead of feeling down, Reed decided to take action. Inspired by a backpack drive his family had organized the previous year, he suggested to his mom, Angie Miller, that they should hold a toy drive.

Angie took to Facebook, posting a video explaining Reed’s intentions and asking for donations of toys or cash to buy toys for a giveaway that Reed planned as a 4-H project.

And boy, did the community step up! “There was a great response—lots of people went out and bought new toys to donate, or they sent money for us to buy them,” Miller said.

Fast forward seven years, and Reed, now a university freshman, is still committed to his cause. Despite being two-and-a-half hours away on his campus in Stillwater, he makes the journey home every year to participate in the annual toy drive, which is now in its seventh edition.

This year, the event is set to be a drive-through extravaganza, with 10,000 toys ready to be handed out. Kids in the back seats of cars will be pointing out their favorite toys, while also receiving practical gifts like socks, underwear, trousers, shirts, gloves, and hats.


“We have walls of toys lined up on each side of the cars, and kids tell us which ones to grab as their parents drive them through the line,” Reed, who studies prelaw and sociology at OK State University, told the Washington Post. “Seeing the happy looks on their faces is always the best part.”

Over the years, Reed’s toy drives have brought smiles to the faces of kids in McAlester, a town that sadly has a poverty rate of 24%. But Reed’s generosity doesn’t stop at toys. He also holds silent auctions for pediatric cancer patients and continues the backpack giveaways he started with his mom when he was just 11.

His kindness is contagious. One resident told the Post that Reed’s work has sparked a wave of community involvement, with everyone wanting to lend a hand in some way. His efforts have raised more than $3.5 million. Talk about making a difference!

So, let’s share Reed’s story and inspire others to spread a little joy this Christmas season!