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Students Turn Santa's Helpers To Make Sure Kids In Need Get The Gifts They Want This Christmas

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For the last 30 years, the not-for-profit Stockings with Care has helped children of families in need get something special for Christmas, and this year, they're getting extra help from some very enthusiastic elves.

Santa's workshop is in full swing at Robert F. Wagner Middle School on East 76th Street in Manhattan.

Student volunteers spent lunch periods and stayed after school wrapping hundreds of donated gifts to make sure other children who may be less fortunate have a merry Christmas morning.

"It makes me feel happy, because not every kid in the world has the chance to get gifts like we do," student Suhana Dadlani told CBS2.

"I knew that they were going to get something for Christmas, and it made me feel good about myself and the kids," student Aniyah James said.

"I know how it feels to receive a gift from your parents on Christmas Day and how happy you would feel, and I want other children to be able to feel that way," Olivia Jagnandan added.

That is the Stockings with Care mission. Families in shelters give the organization specific wish lists from their kids. Donors check those lists twice to make sure the children get what they want. Gifts are then wrapped by volunteers and sent back to the family.

"We give it to the parent, and the parent gives it to them," said Angela Hope-Weusi, executive director of Long Life Information & Referral Network.

Hope-Weusi has been making sure her clients get their wishes fulfilled through stockings for 20 years.

"That that maintains the dignity of the household," she said.

At Wagner Middle School, the head elf -- also known as teacher Katie Lavelle -- gathers the gifts to be sent off.

"What I love about Stockings is it's so personal. It's not a random gift that a kid gets. It's a specific gift that they asked for," Lavelle said.

She's been volunteering with the organization for a dozen years.

"For some of these children, it's the only gifts they're getting for Christmas. So making sure they get the exact gift they asked for is really important to me," she added.

Their truck will be picking up gifts from 12 different locations, helping to make holiday wishes come true for hundreds of kids.

"I know it kind of sounds selfish, but like to make yourself feel better, like you do things for other people as well. But it just really just shows the Christmas spirit like in the joy and like the tribute that you bring to these kids," student Emma Bachearova said.

CLICK HERE for more information about Stockings with Care

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