Carolyn Collins

“I hate cancer, but I gotta have faith and believe. I gotta keep fighting” 

      — Carolyn Collins

by J Thomas

Sadly over Christmas break one of Tucker’s iconic personalities passed away due to metastatic thyroid cancer. Carolyn Collins was a loving mother of two as well as a pillar to the Tucker community. Her coworker, Gregory Phillips, fondly recalls her always going the extra mile to ensure children in Tucker High School did not go cold or hungry. Her passion was never hindered by her occupation as a custodian, a job many disregard. It would not be far fetched to say everyone could see her heart of gold, and her Giving Closet certainty affirmed it. 

Ms. Collins was frequently faced with the harsh reality of many Tucker students. Hoping for a better future for the youth, she decided to invent a unique solution. Beginning in 2014, she worked hard on keeping her Giving Closet full with necessities such as food, clothing and other essential supplies. Students less fortunate than most, came to her in need and Ms. Collins was more than happy to help in whatever way she could. She typically used money out of her own pocket to help aid these children. The providence of the ‘Giving Closet’ spread to nearby counties, increasing the “Giving Closet” network. 

One of Ms. Collins' close friends, Lisa Humphrey, felt blessed to be able to consider Carolyn Collins as her “sister-friend”. She looks back on their time together with a warm glow; saying, “She was one of the best Tucker had to offer. With all the notoriety, awards and acknowledgements, Carolyn’s true essence never changed in the eight years I was blessed to know her”.  

Her generosity hit the mainstream after her endeavors were recognized in a viral video. In a 11alive interview she commented on her journey saying, “It was kind of overwhelming. It was just like, it was a blessing. It was a blessing for somebody else to see my story and to know that we got homeless kids. They need help. They are crying out for help. So, it was overwhelming, but I was okay with it”. Her fame carried over to the West Coast after Steve Harvey flew her out to Los Angeles and made a large donation to her cause. 

Carolyn Collin’s sister-friend epitomized her battle with a quote from ESPN anchor Stuart Soctt,” When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” Although she is no longer with us, her legacy, her Giving Closet, lives on. You can contribute by donating food and clothing, especially clothing as it is winter.