SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Santa, Mrs. Claus and dozens of Santa's helpers all came together to spread Christmas cheer on Wednesday.

Santa traded in his sleigh for a big bus to collect all the toys donated by the community.  Dozens of kids were thrilled to meet Santa as they rode on the bus. "We are riding a bus right now and we are getting presents," said Erik Lino.

Local businesses and community members dropped off toys in the giant donation boxes.  The boxes were set up at more than 50 locations from Carpinteria to Goleta.  Santa is collecting the gifts so that kids across our area will have that special gift to open on Christmas morning.  Once the toys are collected they are taken to one of Santa's workshops to be sorted.

"We have had volunteers here since eight in the morning sorting out the gender and the age so that way we can match the child to an appropriate toy," said Rochelle Rose of Peoples' Self-Help Housing.

  The more than 1,200 toys are wrapped up by dozens of volunteers.  Every toy will be distributed to more than 500 kids in our community.

  All of the gifts help put presents under the trees of local families who need it most. "I feel very happy, because the kids will receive a gift, and it will be a better gift than the parents can give and it's free," said Nancy Ortonec.

  There is no doubt that all the children who receive these presents will be excited to wake up on Christmas morning.

  "It is beautiful because they smile and their smiles are priceless," said Nancy Ortonec.