Santa’s Helpers in Uniform Bring Christmas to Oakland Terrace El - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Santa’s Helpers in Uniform Bring Christmas to Oakland Terrace Elementary

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Santa's workshop could be found in a little bit warmer locale, Wednesday, as some elves from Tyndall Air Force Base worked to bring Christmas a few days early to students at Oakland Terrace Elementary.

Oakland Terrace teachers know their 371 students come from homes that may not be able to provide Christmas and, for the past three years, they've worked to change that, with the help of Santa's helpers in uniform.

"We just felt a need to provide Christmas for all of our kids here," said Title One Coordinator, Deniece Moss. "We're 100% free lunch here at Oakland Terrace and its just one way to show our kids, you know, "Merry Christmas! We love you!"

With winter break just days away, all students will head home with a backpack filled with enough food to last throughout the two week break, as well as an extra special holiday surprise: a bag filled with toys and goodies, made possible through community partners.

"Our business partners have really stepped up to the plate and helped us. Many of them want to remain anonymous," said Moss.

On hand to pack those bags in record fashion were airmen from Tyndall Air Force base, who could probably give Santa's elves a lesson in efficiency.

"They have this down to a science," joked Moss.

Knowing these gifts will go to children in need took on a special meaning for mom and airmen, Samantha Whitfield.

"We live in our own lives all throughout the year and during this time of year when you know there are people out there that need help, when you come to these types of things, it really opens your eyes...sometime you step back and you think, "wow" there's people out there that I can help, that I can give an extra hand to and this is the time to pay it forward," said Whitfield.

Those bags will be delivered to these students Thursday morning with a special visit by Santa himself. Teachers said the looks on their kids faces is truly magical.