HURRICANE, Utah -- Since the first Santa flight in 2000, members of the Utah wing of Angel Flight have worked with their communities to bring needed supplies and toys to Title One schools throughout Utah.
This week planes took off in South Jordan and landed in Hurricane to make some special deliveries.
The planes carried boxes loaded with school supplies, backpacks, clothing, toys and other donations.
“We had 16 airplanes that are flying the Santa Flight and about 7,000 pounds of supplies,” said Steve Bollinger, Utah Wing Leader of Angel Flight West.
The non-profit partnered with 16 Eagle Scouts to gather the donations across northern Utah. Those donations will serve more than 600 children at Hurricane Elementary School.
“It took several attempts to contact us because it didn’t seem real,” said Travis Wilstead, the school’s principal.
But the donations weren't the only surprise for the children. Two helicopters full of Christmas cheer touched down with the loaded planes.
“So at the airport Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and the elves were flying over in the helicopters, and so all the kids came out to the playground, and the helicopters came in and flew around for a little bit and then landed and greeted all the kids, so it was really exciting,” Bollinger said.
Once everyone was inside, Angel Flight volunteers recognized everyone who played a role in the donations. Then Santa and Mrs. Claus made their own announcement.
“I’ve got a challenge for all of you, for all of you to be really nice to your brothers and sisters, your mom and dads,” Santa said.
The school also received cash and checks that amounted to $8,000.
“It’s just a reminder of how great people really are,” Wilstead said. “I mean, an $8,000 donation taken up north to a school down south that they don’t even know, probably don’t have a connection to: That’s just awesome."
Bollinger said it’s great to be part of this tradition.
“People just open up their hearts,” he said. “It’s just amazing as you go around and as people find out about the cause and what we’re doing, they just open their hearts and it is amazing.”
A school choir performance capped off the afternoon’s events.