Christmas is designed to be a time for joy, but it can be hard for children who do not have a family to lean on.
On Tuesday night, local kids in that tough situation received a much needed holiday boost at the Solnit Center in Middletown when Santa came early.
Children told Eyewitness News that they can easily feel forgotten during the holidays. The Solnik Center helps children with mental health needs find their way.
"They don't end up here because they're bad kids. Many of them have experienced trauma at very young ages," said Solnit Center superintendent Michelle Sarofin.
Many of the children at the Middletown and East Windsor campuses have challenging relationships with their parents.
"We try so hard between Thanksgiving and the new year to make it special for them, to make them know how special they are and how appreciated they are," explained Sarofin.
Two men were determined to make this a special Christmas. They donated more than $1,000 to bring gifts to the children.
"I thought it would be great to donate something that they could get personally to bring a little light to their world," said John Svendson of Woodbridge
"I just wanted to put something together, give back to the community. That's what it all comes down too," explained Todd Marino from Middletown.
Along with bikes from an anonymous donor, the children's Christmas lists will be fulfilled.
"They deserve the things every other kid deserves even if it's here," said Sarofin.
Other donors are just smiling because the kids look so happy. "From Santa, from anonymous people. It's a nice thing," said Josh Favreau.
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