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'Youngest Santa' brings smiles to sick children

Photo by Terry Lewis

Photo by Terry Lewis

ALBANY, Ga. -- Four-year-old Trenton Vaughn sat up in his bed at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and smiled broadly when he was handed a couple of unexpected Christmas presents from an atypical Santa Claus.

Over the past two weeks, 11-year-old Kayla Quimbley, a sixth-grader at Albany Middle School, asked friends, businesses and churches to donate money so she could buy Christmas presents for pediatric patients at Phoebe.

On Tuesday, this unlikely Santa delivered two large bags of toys to many children who will likely be spending their Christmas in the hospital.

"I was sitting at home thinking how some of the kids in the hospital don't have money or presents," Kayla said. "That made me sad, so I thought about asking for donations to help by them presents. I got a little over $200 in two weeks.

"I think I could have gotten more if I'd started sooner."

Kayla's mother, step-father and grandmother accompanied her to Phoebe to help deliver the gifts.

"She (Kayla) says she is blessed and wants to give to those less fortunate," said her grandmother, Emma Quimbley. "It brought tears to my eyes to see what a giving child she is."

Kayla's bags contained a little something for everyone.

"I bought blankets for the infants, coloring books, dolls for the girls and trucks for the boys so no one would be left out," Kayla said.

And how does Kayla feel about her endeavor?

"I feel speechless right now," she answered. "It's really great to be able to make some other kids happy. But we couldn't have done it without help from the community and people like Arcadia Baptist and

New Salem Baptist.

"I think I'll start earlier next year."