WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Southeast D.C. had a special event planned for students, with Santa Claus coming to visit and thousands of gifts being given away.

Santa partnered with the school and the community organization, 4MyCity, to put the event together. 4MyCity is an organization focused on sustainability programs and focuses on stopping food waste and helping families facing food insecurity. Additionally, the organization works to put on giveaways throughout the year, including a school supply giveaway at the beginning of each year. The Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Christopher Dipnarine, explained, “It’s really to help families who are struggling to find food in the community. It’s really the same thing. Obviously, if they’re struggling to find food, they’re going to struggle to find other resources.”

A total of 10,000 toys were given away, with around 500 kids picking out multiple presents each. Lakia Lockett, the Director of Family Engagement and Supportive Services at Eagle Academy, said, “This is Christmas. This is what Christmas is all about. The smiles. The love. Despite everything that’s going on in the world, these kids are still smiling.”

This is the third year that Old Saint Nick has made an appearance at the school for this event. Lockett and the Director of Community Service Relations, Angela Salter, explained, “It’s so wonderful. Our students are so happy, and they’re actually giving him a list and getting tips on how to stay on the nice list.”

With the pandemic in mind, each child was also given a box of masks with their toys, and a brand new bookbag to carry everything in. Dipnarine said, “We believe the younger generation, they are the future. So, if we can get them into the right mindset of community and community service, and know that we are here to support them, that’s going to help them to grow up in the right way, too.”

Resources are available to families year-round at Eagle Academy. Salter said, “If a family is in need, we make it happen to the best of our ability.” Lockett added, “We cater to all your needs, and if we don’t have it here, we know exactly where to send you to go.”