Piedmont girl, 12, gives up Christmas gifts to help others

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- At Elasya B’s Candy Tree in downtown Winston-Salem, you can always find a sweet treat.

On the first Monday of winter break, store owner Elasya Jessup, 12, was busy putting the finishing touches on a sweet gesture.

She told her parents that this Christmas she did not want gifts, but in lieu of presents to help someone else.

"Just thinking about children not having what they need, it just doesn't feel right to me to get everything I want, but they don't have something that they need,” Jessup said.

"We jumped on board. We were like sure whatever it is that we have to do we're going to make it happen this year,” Shannon Jessup, Elasya’s mother, said.

Initially, the family was going to help four children at Elasya’s school, Allen Jay Preparatory Academy, after the school social worker helped identify children in need.

However, the number later grew.

"Me and my mom didn't want to know who they are. We just want to give them a surprise for Christmas,” Elasya Jessup said.

"All we know is ages and sizes and we're OK with that because we want to help,” Shannon Jessup said.

The Jessup family is helping a total of 16 children, including others who do not go to school with Elasya.

The children were given school uniforms, hats and gloves, coats, shoes, and other items.

"I am really proud of Elasya. She’s wise beyond her years. She always has been,” her mother said.

"It feels really good to help other people,” Elasya said.

The Jessup family dropped off gifts at Allen Jay Preparatory Academy on Monday.

They will deliver gifts to other children they have adopted at Ashley Elementary on Christmas Eve.