EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Santa Claus made an early stop in the Metro East on Wednesday for the 26th annual Toyland event, which was held at the Casino Queen.

Santa and his helpers handed out gifts to more than 1,600 children from six different schools in the East St. Louis School District.

Organizers said this event is critically important because 93% of the students in the district come from low-income households.

The Toyland tradition has helped bring joy and happiness to nearly 47,000 children over the past 25 years.

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