Christmas comes early for local students thanks to Season of Sharing

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- "Where would you like to go first?"

Christmas came early for more than a hundred local students - thanks to Advisors Excel's Season of Sharing.

Volunteers from the marketing company and McPherson Contractors took Topeka public school students shopping for clothes, shoes and toys at the Topeka Kohl's store.

"Do you want more sweatpants? We have more in the budget for a pair of sweatpants," an Advisors Excel volunteer asks one of the students with her.

"They were really nice and they helped me do the math," 4th Grader Mari said.

The partnership between USD 501 and Advisors Excel provides about 120 students with free gifts.

"I was so excited I just wanted to come here to choose out some toys and clothes and stuff like that," 1st Grader Gabriella said.

"It was fun to hear them and what they want from clothes and shoes and they have a lot more interest in style than I think I did at that age," AE Volunteer Jim Bowman said.

Volunteers like Jim Bowman got a wish list to guide students to items they need and of course the ones they want!

"This is a Batcave and it's cool and I'm gonna show my mom and she's gonna be so excited," 1st Grader Connor said.

Topeka 501 Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson said students were selected based on highest need and personal character.

"So, who were students with just great character that are some of their top students, but right now their family is just struggling to make ends meet," Anderson explained.

"[These] kids... you know, don't have the advantages that some people do," Bowman said tearing up.

Anderson said the time volunteers put in steering these kids in the right direction now will help them turn corners in the classroom.

"Another student earlier, they were picking shoes and the shoes they had on had holes in them. I mean, so really this directly impacts how kids can learn in the classroom," Anderson said, "If we can help them get ready to come to school, getting to school - we can take it from there."

McPherson Contractors also donated a 'hygiene kit' for each student who shopped.