CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — One lifelong Horry County native has dedicated the last 25 years to helping others; especially during the holiday season.
Ray Carmichael, Carolina Santa, collects toys and other necessities to deliver to families who may not otherwise be able to afford them. Carmichael oftentimes spends his own money on the items to make sure he can serve as many people as possible.
“I grew up in a rural area in Horry County, down a dirt road and we never had the opportunity to go to the parade or experience things and I want to bring that back to my community,” he said.
Carmichael says this year has been harder than others because the needs of so many have changed during the pandemic.
“This year it’s terrible,” he explained. “You go to a motel when the person is evicted from their home and now they’re living in a motel and they don’t have much room to even play.
Inside Carmichael Family Chiropractic’s, toys, personal care items and PPE line the halls ahead of Carmichael’s many holiday deliveries.
“It might the opportunity to give a child a toy, anything, giving a mom diapers she needs for her baby,” he said. “This is a totally different environment. We’re all in this together. A person can be working one day and then they are without a job so our needs have really changed. It’s not so much doing toys this year for me, it’s like I’m more of a delivery service.”
Of the many toys he hands out: T’Challa action figures and Barbie Dolls with different physical differences. He says representation is important.
Carmichael has continued to visit with kids this holiday season, but says he is doing his best to stay safe during the pandemic while delivering PPE to families and seniors.
“In March I said to myself and my family, “We need to help our senior citizens,” so we put together a PPE pack that way they would have a little bit of Lysol, face masks and some literature to promote safety.”
This year Carolina Santa also delivered 75 books to Pee Dee Elementary and visited with residents at Loris Adult Daycare.
“We’re able to do good things,” he said. “Let’s come together and help one another out.”