Thousands of kids attend annual 'Operation Santa' at Kennedy Airport

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- There was a big turnout Wednesday for the annual 'Operation Santa' event at Kennedy Airport.

About 4,000 children with special needs got to enjoy some toys, snacks, and of course, Santa Claus.

They pulled into the hangar at JFK by the busload, children seeking Santa, at the event sponsored by The Community Mayors.

This is the 65th year of Operation Santa, an event that began with one bus load of children, a small parade, and a visit from Santa.

It's now grown, with lights shining bright as Santa arrives via a Delta jet, all made possible by hundreds of volunteers from the Port Authority and other service organizations.

And from the plane it was onto the train, allowing Santa to make his way around the hangar.

"It's deeply emotional, especially to see the children who cannot get up and wave and scream and yell for Santa, the ones who are glued to their wheelchairs, to see their eyes lit up like Christmas lights," said Shelley Della Rocca of The Community Mayors.

Every child left with a bag full of goodies, including a fire hat and a Snoopy doll to make the experience that much more memorable.
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