By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Christmas came a little early for some kids at one local elementary school Thursday. It was all part of Charleston Hope's Christmas outreach program.
There are less than two weeks until Christmas but volunteers were busy wrapping presents for the students at Burns Elementary. Every little girl and boy, naughty or nice, received a gift to take home.
"We are going to put a present on your desk and then we are going to count down from five," said Emily Hoisington, founder of Charleston Hope. "You guys are going to count with me and when we get to one, you guys are going to rip open your presents and see what you got."
Kids from kindergarten to 5th grade received a gift. They all had the same reactionthey were thrilled.
"Most of us got basketballsother people got Nerf guns and all that. I had a great time," said Malique Simpson, 5th grader at Burns Elementary.
"I had an amazing time today because I got a present," said Emonie Alston, a 5th grader at Burns Elementary.
But for the volunteers with Charleston Hope it's about more than a wrapped gift.
"The presents are a bonus but we love spending time with the kids and that is really the purpose of this day, not to just drop off a Christmas present and leave, it's to spend time with these kids, to get to know their name, make them feel loved in the Christmas season," said Hoisington.
Emily Hoisington started Charleston Hope along with several other College of Charleston students. Their mission is to restore hope to the next generation, but she says she gets just as much out of it as the kids.
"Leaving the classrooms today, I just get emotional and want to cry because I love these kids even though I don't know them," said Hoisington. "I go home and I process the whole day and I just feel like I'm all smiles for weeks after just thinking about these kids and their faces."
And the feeling seems to be mutual.
"I want to say thanks and I'm going to say have a good Merry Christmas," said Alston.
There are close to 100 volunteers that help with the nonprofit, Charleston Hope.
They will be at Sanders Clyde and Charleston Progressive Elementary Schools Friday handing out more presents.