PONDERAY — The icy cold weather couldn't stop the heartwarming generosity of the Ponderay community Saturday as Santa, Mrs. Claus and three elves delivered sacks of gifts to children and seniors in Ponderay.
"It was an amazing event to be a part of," said Ponderay Mayor Steve Geiger.
Organized by Ponderay city staff and council members, the city has delivered sacks of gifts to those in need in the community for 13 years. This year, 25 to 30 individuals and businesses donated a total of nearly $8,000.
"We have some people in our community that are extremely generous," Geiger said.
With those donations, the city crew put together about 500 children’s sacks, including some special bags for infants, and about 75 sacks for seniors. The "North Pole Express" — a trolley pulled by a Ponderay police vehicle — carried Santa, who somewhat resembled police Sgt. Mike Victorino, and his crew who delivered about 450 of the sacks.
In the first year of the Santa Sack event, about 50 stockings were filled with gifts and delivered to kids in the Ponderay community and it has grown every year since, Geiger said.
"Giving back to the community, anything for the kids, we try to promote it," he said. "I think it's good for the local government to show care in those areas."
Between community participation, the Ponderay Police Department, the mayor, City Council and other city staff and their spouses, about 50 people helped put smiles on hundreds of faces Saturday.