CSX and Santa Train partners Food City, Appalachian Power, Soles4Souls and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce announced July 15 that they will once again hold a drive-thru gift distribution event at four Food City locations throughout Appalachia rather than host a traditional running of the Santa Train. This year’s event will take place Saturday, Nov. 20, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at each of the participating locations.

“Planning the Santa Train takes several months, so the decision to hold our drive-thru gift event was made out of an abundance of caution in light of ongoing concerns about COVID-19,” said Bryan Tucker, vice president of Corporate Communications at CSX. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of giving back to the area and are pleased to spread holiday cheer and lift spirits this November.”

The event will mirror last year’s drive-up celebration with 5,000 holiday gift backpacks being distributed at four Food City locations along the traditional Santa Train route in Kentucky and Virginia. Last year’s event saw hundreds of Appalachian residents receive backpacks filled with winter accessories and toys that were donated by First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Team Santa Train will deliver gifts to the following Food City locations along the 110-mile Santa Train route, where attendees can pick up gifts from their cars to minimize physical contact:

Shelbiana Food City #475

2138 S Mayo Trail, Pikeville, KY 41501

Clintwood Food City #892

410 Chase St., Clintwood, VA 24228

St. Paul Food City #897

16410 Wise St., St. Paul, VA 24283

Weber City Food City #820

3004 US-23, Weber City, VA 24290

“In 2020, we were able to see how CSX, Food City and many other community partners could come together in order to hold this special event in Appalachia, no matter the circumstances,” said Raymond Stockard, store manager of North Eastman Road Food City in Kingsport. “Everyone here at Food City is proud to be a part of this wonderful tradition, and we are thankful to play a part in helping our community celebrate the holidays.”

More information about the event and gift pickup locations will be announced on the Santa Train’s social media pages. Attendees along the route can follow @SantaTrain on Facebook for periodic updates.