EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Santa Claus visited South Texas Health System Children’s, delivering toys and spreading cheer to patients hospitalized.

Santa Claus made it a point to stop by South Texas Health System Children’s to help spread some much needed holiday cheer to the good little boys and girls in the hospital’s care.

Mr. Claus went room by room to surprise patients and their families with gifts he brought down from the North Pole, along with toys donated to the hospital by elves in the Rio Grande Valley.

Courtesy: South Texas Health System Children’s

Throughout the month of December, STHS Children’s received more than 3,000 items in donations from toy drives.

Donations came from former patients, local mobile home parks, staff, and students from schools across the Valley, including Edinburg Economedes High School, IDEA Public Schools, P.S.J.A. North High School and South Texas Vo-Tech. Additionally, local government offices like the Edinburg Housing Authority.

“Imagine being a child having to spend the Christmas season in the hospital. That’s really hard on the entire family, not just the one being hospitalized” said Lance Ames, the Chief Executive Officer of South Texas Health System Children’s and South Texas Health System Edinburg. “With the generosity and kindness of our community and their donations, we’ll be able to spread a little holiday cheer to our patients and the families. There are enough toys that we’ll be able to pass them out to our children in the hospital through our Child Life program well into the new year.”

For many patients being hospitalized throughout the holidays, this visit from Mr.Claus combined with the kind gesture of gift-giving allows children to just enjoy being a kid and have their spirits lifted.

South Texas Health System not only gives gifts to children during the holiday but year-round. Gift-giving is just one of the ways the hospital’s Child Life department lends support to patients and their families so they may better cope with the stress and anxiety experienced during the hospitalization.