NEWPORT, Ky. — Santa Claus was spotted in Newport a few hours ahead of schedule this Christmas Eve while participating in the Newport Fire Department’s “Beyond the Call” program.

St. Nick traveled via fire truck to six families’ homes. Newport Professional Firefighters Local 45 IAFF collected donations throughout the year to help purchase gifts and food for 22 children.

“Big smiles. These families may not smile throughout the year. When you see Santa Claus arrive on a fire truck with the lights on, we see smiles,” union president Jake Silvati said. “That helps us get through the tough year we’ve had to deal with, too.”

Shawnnika Giles and her four children were not expecting to have a Christmas celebration this year, but because of the community’s generosity, her kids will wake up and open gifts Christmas morning.

“This is…I can’t even explain it,” Giles said. “To wake up tomorrow for Christmas…I’m going to start crying…this is just more than enough, this is something I’ll never experience, this is a lifetime for the kids and me.”

Santa surprised the kids — even letting them open a few gifts, like a Spider-Man car.