CARLSBAD (NEWS 8) — The Carlsbad Fire Department is working to spread holiday cheer.
Santa and his helpers are collecting food and toys for families who may need a little extra help this holiday season.
The magic of Christmas is in the air at the Carlsbad Firehouse 1.
For the sixth year the Carlsbad Fire Association is teaming up with the department and the Christmas Bureau for Operation Santa Claus.
This weekend Jack Rosenthal will help his firefighter dad again and dozens of others including Santa Claus as they cruise into Carlsbad neighborhoods on fire engines with elves collecting toys and food for families in need.
"We do have neighborhoods in our city that are needy, and I was one of them growing up,” said Captain Ben Rosenthal.
Rosenthal says when he was 9 years old, he was a Toys for Tots recipient.
"I know my family worked very hard, which a lot of these people do as well, but they just couldn't provide all the fun stuff, the extra things under the tree,” said Rosenthal. “And I remember getting that stuff [from Toys for Tots] and it felt like Christmas morning.”
So, he along with Carlsbad firefighters want the communities help to bring Christmas alive for 400 families who registered with the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau to receive toys and clothes.
"You see the faces of all these incredible people, and they are so incredibly grateful and to everything that is being done,” said Christmas Bureau President Tracy Carmichael.
Even 7-year-old Jack knows helping Santa will help families in need believe in the magic of Christmas.
"We have to collect them for kids that don't have toys, it's Christmas - Santa needs toys for the kids,” said Jack.
On Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Operation Santa will be in the Terramar, Foothills, Camino Hills, Evans Point and Canterbury neighborhoods.
On Sunday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Operation Santa will be in the Rancho Carillo in the Rancho Bravado/Via Conquistador and Bressi Ranch neighborhoods.
Items needed are non-perishable protein-type foods, school supplies, toiletries, and new unwrapped toys, including baby formula, canned meats and fish, peanut butter, canned fruits, vegetables and pasta.
The gifts will be given out on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Boys and Girls Club in Carlsbad.
To learn more about donating visit the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau, click here.