NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - The streets of Suncoast Estates lit up Christmas Eve as children got a big surprise from the man in red.
Santa, Mrs. Claus and all their merry elves paid an early visit. Their intention was to bring more than just Christmas spirit, but spirit that carries all throughout the year.
"We stood out here for a half an hour and the little kids just couldn't wait," Joseph Dail said.
An area that's definitely seen its dark days, was full of light this Christmas Eve. "This is a tough neighborhood, a lot of people out of work," the float's Santa Claus said. "Economical times are bad right now, a lot of people can't afford a Christmas. We want to bring spirit back into Christmas at these times. A lot of people lost that spirit."
It started last year with a truck, Santa, a few candy canes. Thanks to overwhelming support from local businesses and neighbors, it grew into a mardi-gras sized float. Carols and lights called children outside to catch of glimpse of the big man himself. Children proudly showed off stuff animals and toy cars.
"You give them a toy and a candy cane, and they appreciate it, just by the way they look at you," Santa said. "It's really really awesome."
The sleigh hit the road at sundown. The plan was the continue until all 800 toys were in childrens' hands.
"Our community don't see this much," Dail said. "We don't have the luxuries of being able to buy our kids a lot of presents and stuff every year, so it's really nice that a local company could come out and do this for us."
"It doesn't take much," Santa said. "A little love, a big heart, and a lot of kids."
The people behind all of this live in North Fort Myers and came up with the idea, simply because they felt the area needed some extra holiday cheer. They, and the businesses who generously donated to the cause, say they want no credit or notoriety, they just want to uplift their neighbors.
Their goal is to make this bigger and better each year. If you'd like to get onboard for next year, you can contact George Tanner at 239-910-3945