Beautiful Moment When ‘Santa Train’ Arrives in Appalachia

Beautiful Moment When ‘Santa Train’ Arrives in Appalachia

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Savannah Church excited to see AmyGrant-Erin LaBelle-Submitted
Last week the 72nd annual Santa Train made its annual trip through Appalachia giving out more than 15 tons of clothing, food, candy, wrapping paper, toys and gifts.

The Santa Train websitephotoSince 1943 The Santa Train has ushered in the holidays making 14 scheduled stops along its 110-mile route through poverty-laden areas of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. This year, gifts and donations from individuals and companies across the U.S., including CSX, Dignity U Wear and Food City, made it all possible.

Singer Amy Grant was this year’s on board celebrity guest, and Erin LaBelle, a photojournalist from Kent, Ohio, captured a lovely moment when Grant ventured into the crowd to greet — and sing with — a young woman who has William’s Syndrome.

Savannah Church could not contain her excitement as Amy approached her at the Fremont, Virginia stop.

“Savannah caught my eye when I first arrived because she radiated such a strong positive energy,” LaBelle told the Good News Network. “As a photographer, I look for those who will react with emotion when the train arrives and they first see Santa.”

”I kept my eye on her and overheard Savannah whisper into a Santa Train volunteer’s ear to which he replied, ‘She’s coming to see you Savannah!'”

This image captured the moment Savannah is first able to see Amy climbing down off the Santa Train and walking in her direction.

“It was a truly beautiful thing to witness and speaks to the power celebrities have to bring joy and encourage others,” said LaBelle, who submitted her photo to be featured on the Good News Network.

Amy Grant with fan-ErinLaBelle-submitted

See more photos from Erin LaBelle (Photo of Santa by The Smile Train)