Published: Dec 25, 2011 4:33 AM EST
Updated: Dec 26, 2011 5:27 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Santa's sleigh swept through Suncoast Estates for the third year in a row, bringing toys and holiday cheer to hundreds of families.

This year's event was the biggest one yet, with volunteers collecting more than 1,200 donated toys for Santa to hand out. It's about 500 more gifts than they received last year, says organizer George Tanner.

"It touched people so much last year, they showed up with two presents from the Dollar Store. Well, those two presents made two kids happy. So it's starting to catch. The spirit is spreading," says Tanner.

Starting at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve, kids of all ages lined the streets of Suncoast to wait for the big man in red, who made more than a hundred stops throughout the neighborhood.

"I think it's awesome that they go out of the way to do that for the neighborhood kids," says Jason Whitty, who took his son to meet Santa for the first time. "Some kids probably only get as much as they give out for free, so it means a lot to me, and a lot to others I'm sure."

It takes hundreds of hours for organizers to prepare for the event, but Tanner says it's worth every minute.

"Everyone needs a little Christmas cheer. I don't care where you live," he says.