CHICAGO (CBS) — Santa Claus is coming to town a bit early for some needy families in southwest suburban Tinley Park.

It will be hard to miss; roughly 50 emergency vehicles will escort Santa through Tinley Park on Saturday. Dennis Mahoney, a former Tinley Park police officer and president of the board for the non-profit Tinley Wish Organization, said they’re helping six families for the holiday season.

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“One little girl is very sick, has cancer. They’ve exhausted all their monies on insurance. They’ve second- and third-mortgaged their house. They’ve exhausted every penny they have, just to keep the child going with medical leave,” he said.

Tinley Wish was founded by two Tinley Park police officers in 1996. It has since spread to residents who find creative ways to raise funds.

“Bunco parties, Bingo parties, kids selling Kool-Aid, kids selling lemonade,” Mahoney said.

Each year, Tinley Wish asks schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations to nominate families that could use their help. Once it has chosen families, it has them make a wish list for the holidays.

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Mahoney said the hardest part is deciding who to help.

“It’s pretty heart-wrenching to say no, because some people, they might be down and out on their luck, they might be unemployed, but there’s other people out there that’s losing everything they have,” he said.

This year, Tinley Wish is helping six families. Since they began, the charity has helped more than 100 families.

“Over the past 20 years, we have raised and donated approximately $1 million,” he said.

Police officers, firefighters, and Santa will drop off the gifts, which can include toys, clothes, shoes, or even a mortgage payment.

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The group already has started collecting for next year. Donations can be dropped off at the Tinley Park Police Department, at 7850 W. 183rd St.