LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Lancaster police and other city officials delivered presents to local families in need. Police have been doing this for several years and for the first time, this year, firefighters, the mayor, and other city officials joined the effort, which put smiles on lots of faces.

“This will make my Christmas a lot better,” said Nelly Vasquez.

That’s exactly why police, firefighters, the mayor, and some of their families spent their Christmas Eve, delivering 600 presents to dozens of families across the city with Santa.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Lt. Bill Hickey, Lancaster Bureau of Police Public Information Officer.

And this year, it may be even more important to get these presents delivered.

“There was probably a time when a lot more people were employed, and now you look at this year, a lot more people are out of work and that’s continuing, and you’re starting to see a ripple effect from some of that,” said Lt. Hickey.

“More than any other year, we’re feeling both the isolation and the opportunity to connect with people in ways that we haven’t been able to for the past several months,” said Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace.

That was apparent as kids came up to Santa as he was walking down the street, delivering gifts.

For most of the recipients, they didn’t know Old Saint Nick was stopping by.

“It feels great. Were you surprised? Yes,” said David Stanley.

It was all about helping out your fellow man.

“They basically just did a big collection,” said Sgt. Manuel Luciano, Lancaster City Bureau of Police Patrol Services. “You see it in their eyes and their face. They can’t believe that they’re getting these gifts, and it’s just so great to see that reaction. It’s a big thing for me. That’s why I enjoy bringing my sons along.”

The plan is to continue doing this for years to come.