HUGHESTOWN -- Only two days before making his annual global trip from the North Pole to every home around the world, Santa Claus made a stop in the borough Sunday morning.
At the request of the Hughestown Hose Company, he greeted children and their parents, spread some Christmas cheer, gave gift bags to all of the children there and even shared a breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes.
He took time to sit with families at the hose company's fire station banquet hall greeting smiling faces of the children and taking their last-minute requests. Many of them said they can't wait for his next visit on Tuesday. He also posed for pictures with the children.
Mrs. Claus accompanied Old Saint Nick. She took time to read stories to the children about the meaning of Christmas.
Deputy Fire Chief Bill Aruscavage said the fire company appreciates the arrival of the jolly Christmas icon each year because he helps the volunteers show their appreciation to families of the community they vow to protect.
In addition, it represents one of the largest fundraising events for the company, he said.
About 300 breakfasts were served from 7 a.m. to noon. After enjoying the meal, children participated in craft-making activities, took home coloring books and participated in a toy raffle, which included a new Lionel train set with tracks and transformer, Aruscavage said. That present was guaranteed to make some lucky child go ho-ho-ho, he added.
In addition to the breakfast, Santa toured the borough streets on a fire truck to continue spreading the holiday spirit, waving to his adoring fans and helping with the company's annual canned-food collection.
Every year for the last 20 years, the hose company members took time to gather canned food left on the porches of homes in the borough, Aruscavage said. About one pickup truck full has been gathered each year.
The volunteers take the donated canned food and distribute it to local families in need, Aruscavage said. He estimated that about 1,000 families would receive some this year.
Aruscavage said the whole day is geared toward sending a message to the community about the services the hose company provides and the work the volunteers do when they are called.
We want to make everyone in Hughestown know we care about the families and kids that live here, he said.