Operation Santa takes over airplane hangar at JFK Airport in Queens

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- Santa Claus is busy getting ready for the big day as Christmas rapidly approaches, but on Wednesday, he took a break to visit a special group of kids at Kennedy Airport in Queens.

And he made quite the entrance.

More than 4,000 special needs children and their teachers streamed off buses and into an airline hangar at JFK, the guests of honor at a bash thrown just for them.

"It's all about giving back and sharing the good things in life," organizer Shelly Della Rocca said. "Especially these days, it's so important to share the good and positive energy.

The non-profit Community Mayor's Office, a non-political group, has been sponsoring Operation Santa for nearly 70 years. It's purpose is to spread holiday cheer in this season of giving, a mission accomplished with the help of volunteers and generous donations from companies like Macy's, the Port Authority, the FDNY and NYPD, and even the FBI.

It's all to help make the day special for youngsters who won't soon forget it.

"This is a safe place for them to be here, to enjoy themselves, be who they are, enjoy singing, laughing, receiving gifts," teacher Rachel Charles-Pierre said.

And bags and bags of gifts provided plenty of toys to be taken home. But of course, that couldn't happen without the man himself. And Santa did not disappoint, arriving while hanging out of the front window of a Delta jet, waiving enthusiastically to his adoring fans.

And from there, it was off to another unconventional Kris Kringle mode of transportation -- a personal locomotive. So there was a plane, a train, but not a sleigh in sight. Still, no one was complaining.

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