INDIAN TRAIL, SC -- Normally the sounds of a huge rescue unit followed by a dozen firefighters from the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department would be a cause for concern, but on the day before Christmas they are met with smiles, hugs and cheers.
On Monday, firefighters, their wives and friends spent the day bringing Christmas cheer to families in need in their area.
"Things are just rougher this year." said mother Kim Totherow from her front porch after her son and niece received a visit from Santa and his elves, who normally work as volunteer firefighters. "It was down to the point where I had to borrow some money just for Christmas just to buy the couple things that I had." she said.
Nearly 40 families will receive toys, clothes, and food from the Pleasant Valley VFD which has done this for the past 26 years.
The community service project comprises three fire districts in Lancaster, Pleasant Valley will go to 13 homes on Monday.
"It’s started because of a need in our community," said Captain Keith Wilson of the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department, "It makes our Christmas cause this is what Christmas is all about."
For the families the gifts mean that there will be something under the tree on Christmas morning.
Children are identified by school officials and once chosen the departments go about the process of getting them the gifts and clothes that they want for Christmas.
"It's a God-send. It' a blessing. It's all I can say." said Gregory Yoder the father of three children. "I'm at a loss for words I wouldn't even know what to say. Thank you and God bless."
For those who deliver the gifts it’s a chance to show what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.
"This the spirit of Christmas... giving and that's what we do." said captain Wilson.