By Dale King The Pineapple Contributing Writer Santa Claus made an early stop at the Wayne Barton Study Center in Boca Raton last month, bringing abundant holiday cheer and, more importantly, toys, to hundreds of children five days before his big sleigh ride around the world. The jolly gent from the North Pole left his reindeer behind, and, instead, engaged the services of Boca Raton Fire Rescue to make the trip. He pulled up to the Barton Center on a fire engine with sirens blaring. Inside the hall, Santa presided from the stage of the big gymnasium, where youngsters and families enjoyed a kid-friendly, free holiday feast including grilled hot dogs, burgers, French fries and soft drinks. Another jolly gent – Wayne Barton himself – stood in front of the stage where he called out the numbers of lucky ticket holders who got special gifts for the holiday. Every single youngster in the hall was able to bring at least one gift home. “Three cheers for Wayne Barton, who, along with his staff and volunteers, made Christmas a happier one for more than 500 children and their families,” said Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth, who helped distribute the Christmas goodies. “After lunch, a dozen bicycles were given away and Santa delivered presents to all of the children,” the deputy mayor added. Lots of volunteers were on hand to assist. The folks from Herbalife of Miami, who lent a hand during the Thanksgiving dinner festivities a month earlier, were back to help out at Christmas. During the interim, they spent time collecting toys for the big party that was held Dec. 20, at the Barton Center. A DJ filled the hall with holiday music, and face painters and clowns entertained the crowd. Kids were also able to get their photos taken with Santa. Jerry Thorn came dressed as an elf and Patti Bornstein could be seen in her usual spot, helping Wayne Barton hand out toys.