Madison Business Owner A Real Life Santa Claus 

He may not look like Santa Claus, but come Christmas morning kids in Skowhegan and Madison won’t be able to tell the difference. He’s Charles Robbins, owner of Charlie and Sons Used Cars in Madison, who says it all began with a phone call to local town offices asking about their Christmas Giving Tree Program. “They said donations were coming in real slow so I said I wanted to do a toy drive at the office to try to help both the towns out,” Robbins said.His plan was to make sure every person who brought in an unwrapped toy got their name entered in a raffle for a chance to win a $100 gas card. “To be honest with you, this is the first year, the first time we’ve ever done anything like this. I thought we’d get 100, 200 toys,” he said. “Distribute them, divvy them up between both the towns.”But little did he know, his little toy drive was about to get a whole lot bigger, thanks to the wide reach of social media. “A week before the deadline, a Monday, the local State Farm agent Don Skillings called me he wanted to make a donation to the toy drive.”Skilling’s idea? To post the toy drive on his Facebook page and for every “like” he got, Skillings would pledge $1 to the toy drive up to $150. It didn’t take long for the Facebook campaign to gain steam. “Within 10 minutes my phone started ringing,” Robbins said. “Other local businesses, one right after another. ‘That looks like fun, we want to help, can we do it.’ There was a total of 41 or 42 local businesses. Within one week we raised $8,000 in cash, all 1$ per like on Facebook pledges.”Even though Charles Robbins might not be Santa Claus, his toy drive has proven one thing. There’s a little Santa in all of us. “We so far estimated about 130 kids that we’ve reached out to. Instead of just toys we’re also doing clothes and winter jackets, hats. Pretty much everything on the kids wish list they’re going to get this year.”