SAN ANTONIO — Santa and snow came a little early for thousands of families who showed up at the Elf Louise 50th Christmas celebration.

Every year, the non-profit gives gifts to deserving children in our area. Nearly 4,000 braved the chilly weather Sunday to celebrate hope, faith and the goodness of people at Mission County Park.

Louise Locker is the generous woman behind the Elf Louise Christmas Project. As a student at Trinity University, Locker had an idea to give back to children in our community who needed a Christmas.

In 1969, its first year, she helped 13 families. Letters to Santa written by children is where it began. One letter from a little girl named Ana stood out to Locker. She asked for a Christmas tree and a Bible for her mom. Fifty years later, Locker and thousands of volunteers are continuing to make a difference in the lives of little kids like Ana.

Today, more than 20,000 children in more than 5,000 families are served every year.

"It is very crazy and it doesn't seem like that long," Locker said. "I appreciate our whole community so much. We are all volunteer. We are not funded. All these people come together and make this happen."

For more information on the non-profit, click here.