NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The north pole came to North Philadelphia Wednesday. A restaurant held a huge toy drive with hundreds of gifts to go around.
"We can't have Christmas without snow," said Saudia Shuler. She gave a Christmas party that shut down a block of 22nd street in North Philly Wednesday evening.
"I wanted them to see Rudolph in real life," she said showing off the live deer she had there. Shuler is the owner of Country Cookin restaurant on North 22nd Street brought Christmas to the neighborhood that has supported her since she opened.
"It helps me actually a lot," said Aliyah Bolden who came for her two sons and nephew.
"It's actually hard trying to do this whole Christmas thing for two of them by myself," said Bolden.
Shuler or "Saudi Claus" as the kids call her spread the word mostly on Instagram to her 83-thousand-plus followers. SkyFOX captured the turnout. The line of people spanned three streets.
Her only requirement was that adults had to have a child with them to take home gifts.
"I seen a lot of kids parents getting food out of the garbage can. I see people bills is cut off around this time of year and they really don't have it to give to their kids," said Shuler. She took us inside her workshop full of toys she purchased and others donated. She had more than 100 bikes and more than 500 toys.
Elexus and Charles Church came with their three children.
"We stayed in line for 5 hours," they said.
"I seen that car on Instagram and I said I want that car. As soon as my son came up Shuler held him and she said get in this car and I was like yes!" said Elexus Church. Others were willing to wait all night grateful for Shuler's compassion.
"She's very good to the community. Her family has been doing this for the community for a lot of years so she's continuing the tradition," said Cloris Withers. Shuler says the give-a-way marks a year that her business has thrived in the community.
"Three years ago, I was in a place where I couldn't do anything so I know how it feel not to be able to do anything for your kids. I'm just trying to give back because my hood shows me so much love. I just want to try to give back," she said.