Santa Train 2020 – A Wrap


KINGSPORT, Tenn. (Nov. 25, 2020) – Christmas came early for families in Appalachia on Saturday, according to the sponsors of the CSX Santa Train, who shared that more than 5,000 pre-packed gift bags filled with hats, gloves, scarves and toys were distributed at drive-up events held at four local Food City stores. On the Santa Train’s social media channels, Santa Claus and special guests from years past shared holiday greetings.

“We know how special the Santa Train is to this community, and it was important to us to find a way to keep this holiday tradition going during a challenging year,” said Bryan Tucker, vice president of corporate communications at CSX. “We extend many thanks to our other sponsors, especially Food City, which hosted the event at its stores. Without their support, this special event would not be possible.”

In addition to CSX, event partners include Appalachian PowerFood CityKingsport Chamber of Commerce and Soles4Souls. This year, the nonprofit First Responders Children’s Foundation provided thousands of toys for the event.

“Our team at Food City was ecstatic to be a part of bringing this year’s Santa Train event to life,” said Raymond Stockard, store manager of North Eastman Road Food City in Kingsport. “We have always been proud of our involvement in the Santa Train, and it was really special to bring that experience to our stores.”

Attendees lined up in their cars for the 78th Santa Train drive-thru event on Saturday, Nov. 21. This year’s event was reimagined as a drive-thru distribution due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Volunteers from Food City and Appalachian Power spread holiday cheer as gift pickup begins.

Volunteers from Food City and Appalachian Power greet families as cars made their way through the gift distribution line on Saturday, Nov. 21.

While in line to receive their gifts, children wave from the car. Children were gifted backpacks filled with toys and winter accessories. Nearly 5,000 bags were distributed at the four distribution locations along the usual Santa Train route.

Children look on as they wait in the drive-thru line to receive goodies from Team Santa Train on Saturday, Nov. 21. The gifts varied by age group, and included everything from Barbie dolls to Mattel toys.

After waiting in line, families receive their gifts from a volunteer. Children received backpacks filled with toys and warm winter accessories, while adults picked up holiday-themed wrapping paper.

A volunteer gives instructions to cars arriving for gift pickup. Volunteers from Food City and Appalachian Power – as well as local police – were on hand to make sure the distribution went smoothly.

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