Santa makes special stops in Athens housing projects - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Santa makes special stops in Athens housing projects

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It was a magical night for children in McMinn County. Several housing projects received a special stop from Santa Claus on Friday evening.

Some families said they won't have a Christmas this year, but a stop from Santa shows them somebody still cares.

"I heard the sirens, and at first, we thought something bad happened," said Star Gray, mom of three. "But then we heard holiday music, so I started running through the neighborhood screaming, Santa's here!"

Santa made stops in neighborhoods across Athens, surprising kids and their parents, too. 

"I gathered up all the kids I could so we could run up here and just attack and love Santa," Gray said.

While the sleigh gets prepped for its Christmas Eve flight, a white pickup truck drove Santa to several housing projects.

"It's a miracle," said Pamela Hill, who was with her grandchildren.

"We hand out candy canes to kids, and we talk to them," said Chief Santa Claus, Athens Fire Dept. "So they get a little taste of Santa coming early."

For some residents, Friday was Santa's only stop this year.

"We're not doing much this year for Christmas," said resident Latisha Blackwell. "We have a little Christmas tree, but that's it."

But no matter how many presents are under the tree, kids' smiles were the greatest gifts.

"It's nice to have something good happen around the neighborhood. We don't get it often," Gray said. "So (tonight) it's a real pleasure. A real treat, especially around the holidays."

Santa is scheduled to make more stops in Athens Saturday night in the City Park and Ingleside neighborhoods.

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