Youth Empowerment Project delivers smiles and gifts during "Santa Run"

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Youth Empowerment Project was out and about Thursday afternoon, and by out and about, we mean all over the City of Utica.

It was the annual "Santa Run" - a practice run for the big journey on Christmas Eve.

The group made a stop at the Thea Bowman House on Park Ave in Utica, where members of Youth Empowerment handed out candy and treats to kids, as well as stuffed animals.

More than a thousand kids were smiling that day, thanks to the agency and the entire community.

"You really want to know the truth? The angels, they come down, they swoop down every year and help us out," said Barbara Gaston of the group. "We have a lot of help. the community has been very generous this year."

The Santa Run is in addition to the work Youth Empowerment does during the holidays.

Volunteers collect toys, clothes and toothbrushes among other things for a number of families in need.

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