LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – A week before Christmas, and all in Lexington was certainly not quiet.

“Operation Secret Santa began five years ago. My oldest son and I saw a need in the community. It was just us. We picked up some toys and he was rifling through the back of our SUV finding the perfect families for them and dropping them off on porches,” said Katie Keys.

Keys said it wasn’t until last year in the middle of the pandemic that the operation really took off.

“With COVID, it was kind of the perfect storm of a lot of need in the community and also a lot of the nonprofits in town weren’t doing their normal efforts. So they reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, can we give our people to you guys?’”

And with the extra elves, they were able to provide toys and meals to more than 2,000 kids. This year, they’re helping more than 800 families and over 3,000 kids.

“A lot of these families don’t even know they’re going to be receiving gifts. They’re nominated by teachers or school resource officers. This gives us their address and phone number, and a little bit about each child.”

Then Santa’s helpers get busy filling the sacks with personalized gifts.

“This one has a four-year-old boy who loves Blue Blaze and Monster Machines and Blues Clues. There’s also a nine-month-old female and she loves soft plushy toys and anything that rattles.”

They then load up their sleighs and take the toys to each home, ring the doorbell, and runoff in time for kids to be surprised by a little Christmas magic.

Toys and gifts for kids of all ages are being taken by Operation Secret Santa. Donations can be dropped off at 446 East High St. Or you can put them in any of the 30 donation bins around town until the 22nd.

You can also donate to the operations through PayPal or Venmo to the username @SecretSantaLex.