Tuesday, December 11 2012 10:55 PM EST2012-12-12 03:55:22 GMT
Rolls of wrapping paper were stacked on a table in the middle of the room, before dozens of college students sat on the floor of PureMore >>
Rolls of wrapping paper were stacked on a table in the middle of the room, before dozens of college students sat on the floor of Pure Theatre to wrap Christmas gifts for kids they have never met.More >>
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Hundreds of Charleston children got a Christmas surprise Friday, all thanks to the work of complete strangers.
Charleston Hope, a non-profit that aims to help low-income Title 1 schools, visited Charleston Progressive Academy and served lunch to students, faculty and staff.
The holiday spirit didn't stop there. After lunch, volunteers (including one certain jolly old elf in a red suit) visited every classroom and every student in the school received a Christmas present.
"We just want them to know the community cares about them," said Emily Hoisington, Founder and President of Charleston Hope."We want to bring them just a glimmer a hope this holiday season."
All of it was made possible by donations and the work of volunteers - at least 900 gifts were wrapped by hundreds of volunteers. Presents were donated by businesses and individuals around the community.
The appreciation of that hard work was evident by the huge smiling faces and excited screams as the presents were opened.
"It was chaos. The kids were so excited and wrapping paper flew everywhere," said CPA first grade teacher Brittany Ahl. "Most of them were just speechless, they just loved their presents."
The newly formed non-profit will be doing projects at several title-one schools in the area, encouraging community involvement and helping fill the needs of those schools.
"My heart and passion is with title-one schools," said Hoisington. "I see a need and I feel a call to do something about it."
This is more than just a gift for the holidays. Hoisington, a freshman at the College of Charleston, plans to work year-round.
"We'll do Adopt-a-Classroom every Christmas, but we'll also do other projects," she said. "We're working on a teachers' closet we can set up in a couple of the schools so teachers can have supplies and getting uniforms donated for students that can't afford them."
It's a message Charleston Hope wants to leave in everyone's stocking.
"There are people that care, no matter your situation," said Ahl. "No matter what time of year it is, there is someone in the community that cares about these students."
Burns Elementary also received holiday love from Charleston Hope. A total of 46 classes and 900 students were adopted as part of this year's program.
To learn more about what you can do to help, visit their website, www.CharlestonHope.com
*Valencia Wicker contributed to this report
Video will be available after the 11 p.m. broadcast on ABC News 4.
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