NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The holiday season is a festive and joyous time of year, but it can also put a strain on families who are already struggling financially.

Way of Hope COO Jason Smith, who was also featured on WAVY as a Wednesday’s Child back in 1993, says he started the Breakfast with Santa event to give back to kids in the community he grew up in and each year it continues to grow.

He was part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program when he was growing up in a single-parent home and says the organization made his holidays brighter.

“We would all have gifts,” said Way of Hope COO, Jason Smith. “I was like I want to recreate that for some kids that might not have Christmas or their parents cant afford it.”

The Breakfast with Santa Event started with 20 families and Jason, along with Way of Hope CEO, Wallace Hawkins, would collect lists to help get every kid the gift they wished for.

“I remember we were going to Walmart, to Target to all the stores with specific lists, shirts and headphones actually buying the items,” said Hawkins.

The event serves families all over Hampton Roads and this year they’ll even have a translator to help kids from Spanish-speaking families visit with Santa too.

“I just feel like Christmas is a time that every kid should be able to have that one day regardless of anything else that’s going on,” said Smith.

Smith says they also have an expanded age range, so teenagers can get gifts as well. He feels it’s important to give back because you never know what a family could be going through.

“To see some of the stories that we receive about people being homeless or their father just died, they don’t know where they’re going to do Christmas so for us to be able to help them is a blessing,” said Smith.

Hawkins and Smith both grew up in Newport News and even spent time at the C. Waldo Scott Center for Hope. This event will be one of the last in the Scott Center before it closes down for renovations.

They say it feels great to give back to the community that raised them.

“We’re trying to do this as big as possible make it a moment in time for Newport News,” said Wallace.

“I feel like if we don’t do this, who will,” said Smith.

The Breakfast with Santa event is planned for December 17th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Scott Center in Newport News.

Some of the sponsors of the event include Exclusive Medical Staff, Cricket Wireless, J Smith Enterprises, McDonald’s, Mayor-Elect Phillip Jones, Newport News Sheriff’s Office, and more!

If you’d like to donate toys or help financially, visit Way of Hope’s website.