(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph firefighters played the role of Santa on Tuesday, spending the day delivering Christmas presents to kids in need.
Every year, the St. Joseph Fire Department partners up with the St. Joseph School District, selecting one student from each of the 14 elementary schools, and one student from the virtual school this year.
In the past, the firefighters will take the kids with them on a shopping spree, but because of the pandemic, that was not an option.
"So we all got together and had a big shopping day and got everything wrapped and actually will go out and deliver them today," said Mikey May, a St. Joseph firefighter. "And we'll be going to the children's homes, so they're really looking forward to the firetruck coming to their house."
Each school informs the fire department on which kids are chosen, and they are given a list of gifts that the children ask for with a rough limit of $100.
"So we kind of got a little bit of everything. Honestly, it's whatever they wanted; we didn't say no," said May. He also added that they don't mind splurging, and that they want to get everything on each list.
One recipient, Nadia Cochran, was so excited to receive her gifts, that she even convinced her mom to open one gift before Christmas, receiving a Pokemon toy. "I like it because it has animals in it and I like animals," said Nadia.
The SJFD has been shopping for gifts for 15 years now. Mikey May and the rest of the crew say that this year was a little more difficult because they had to shop on their own without the kids. "Thank you to North Belt Walmart. We had a lot of help. But it was fun. And then our women's auxiliary helped us wrap gifts, so we want to give a shoutout to them also."