PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — With Christmas just days away not everyone can be home with family, that’s why a local jolly Saint Nick is making sure children at the OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois have a Christmas to remember.

Thursday in Peoria, Santa came to town. For the 26th year, Bill Turney, known as “Santa Bill”, collected thousands of dollars worth of presents for kids at the OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

“I know these parents, they’re not worried about Christmas. They just want to get their child home for Christmas. And these kids, I’m sure they’re wondering if Santa is going to find them here and Santa does find them here and it makes every one of them smile,” Turney said.

This year, with the help of the community, nearly $40,000 dollars in toys were purchased, a new record.

“A lot of new people have stepped up this year and helped out,” Santa Bill said. “Our community is amazing for what they do to help us out for these kids.”

Santa Bill was feeling a little under the weather this time, so his friend “Santa Mark” helped by delivering the toys and smiles.

“It’s our responsibility to give to other children to make sure they’re happy. Santa Claus all the way to Saint Nicholas has been about caring for kids and being there for kids that are in need,” Santa Mark said.

Santa Mark calls it an honor to provide light for those that are away from home battling illness.

“Bring them a little joy during a difficult time for both the child and their families,” Santa Mark said.

Staff at the hospital said seeing Santa and his helpers provide a big morale boost when it’s most needed.

“When Santa’s able to come on the floor and see the kids, even in the lobby with our outpatient kids you can see that it sparks a special something and that’s what Christmas is all about,” said Savannah Self, certified child life specialist at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

Santa Bill said that he is dedicating this year’s toy donation to two of his good friends, Mike Melley and Kevin Sipp, that passed away earlier this year.