Children spending the summer in the hospital get surprise visit from Santa

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

It may say July on the calendar, but a group of volunteers is making it feel more like December.  Old Saint Nick is taking a break from his vacation to visit some lucky kids today at San Joaquin Community Hospital.

 Families forced to spend their summer behind hospital doors are getting one big surprise from Santa.

"It's something nice. It makes me feel happy to know that there are people out here that care for other families and take time out of their day to do stuff like this," said Marco Vasquez who was paid a visit by Santa.

Santa Claus decided to leave the North Pole and spend some time in Hawaii, but soon decided he wanted to spread some holiday cheer in Bakersfield.

"We enjoy watching the kids cheer up when they are in the hospital and their minds are taking away from why they are here,” he said.

 "Christmas in July" is a partnership between San Joaquin Community Hospital and Toys for Tots.  Together with volunteers, U.S. Marines helped pass out gifts and toys to several children.

"I think there's a lot of stuff that happens during the holidays and we just want the kids in the hospital to know that the community cares about them.  We want to make sure they know all year round," said Jimmy Phillips, spokesperson for San Joaquin Community Hospital.

The Special visit from Santa is also a time for the two organizations to start building on this year's inventory for the busy holiday season.  Leaders are working on a small toy drive for December.

"It brings a smile to the kids and their parents greatly appreciate that, and at the same time you know it brings us joy to help out in a different form not only as a service to our country but at the same time serving our community with toys for tots," said staff sgt. Uverne Peralta.

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Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc

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