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Toy drive ends with delivery by Santa

| Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 1:47 a.m.
Santa Claus took a moment out of his busy schedule on Friday to pay a visit to Denver Shcubert, 11, during the Homestead Volunteer Fire Department's holiday toy distribution. Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Daily News
Santa Claus paid a visit to sisters Bria, 5, and Amara Bristol, 8, during the Homestead Volunteer Fire Department's holiday toy distribution on Friday. Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Daily News
Jake Brsitol, 3, of Homestead receives a gift from Santa Claus during the Homestead Volunteer Fire Department's holiday toy distribution on Friday. Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Daily News

Christmas arrived early for some Steel Valley area families.

Santa came through Homestead, West Homestead and Munhall on a Homestead fire truck delivering more than 100 toys to at least 25 homes on Friday evening.

Delivering the gifts was the culmination of the Homestead Volunteer Fire Co.'s toy drive this month.

“This is our first time doing it, and we hope to do it every year,” fire company vice president Ron May said.

“I think it was awesome. I think it's so cute,” Kim Miller said after her sons Matthew and Logan got their presents. “They're so shocked with the firemen and Santa on the fire truck.”

Mary Bristol said she was happy to see her grandchilden's smiling faces. Jake, Amara and Bria Bristol each received presents.

“It was totally nice, totally great,” Mary Bristol said. “It's unexpected and it's wonderful.”

Amara said she's been a good girl all year, and was very happy her family's having a Merry Christmas.

“It's cool. It's really surprising,” said 11-year-old Denver Schubert after receiving presents from Santa.

Brand new unwrapped toys were handed out. A bulk of them came from an event hosted by Dollar General in Homestead on Dec. 15.

Fire Chief James Barca credits his volunteers, Dollar General manager Robert Barnwell, Mayor Betty Esper, and police Chief Jeff DeSimone and his department for making the effort a success.

“We were able to put this all together,” Barca said. “It's a good feeling to give back for the kids in need.”

May said the fire company spoke with some companies, Steel Valley School District and Rainbow Kitchen to help identify families in need of some extra Christmas cheer.

“We want to be more community based,” May said. “We want to let the community know that we're here to help the community, not just to put out fires. We want the kids to look at us as being big brothers and big sisters as well, and be a lot more into the community. We want to let them know that we're here to help.”

Toys ranged from keyboards, footballs, arts and crafts, baby dolls, action figures and items listed for children to teens.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or