WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Imagine being a parent and hearing your teenager say they don't want any gifts for their birthday. You might just pinch yourself, right?
Well, that's exactly what 13-year-old Emma Stewart told her parents Chris and Kimberly.
"I didn't really want anything this year, I just wanted to help others," the Murray Middle school student told WECT Friday.
Last year, Emma traveled with her parents to a resort in the Dominican Republic for a family trip.
"When we got there, my mom said she didn't want me spending my entire time on the resort, and that she wanted to show me what life was like for young children living in a third world country," said Emma.
So the family visited the Ninodecristo Orphanage where 160 boys and girls live. The children that come through the orphanage's doors are often victims of abuse or abandonment.
"When I went there, none of them had shoes or anything. There were cuts and bruises on their feet, a lot of glass on the floor, and they had no protection from bugs or animals," Emma explained.
So she decided she wanted to collect as many pairs of flip flops as she could to take down to the orphanage on their next trip.
"I don't understand what they have gone through their whole lives, but now I have an idea. I am privileged enough to live here, and they aren't but they still deserve nice things," Emma said.
Her grandmother put a post on Facebook several weeks ago, and since then she has collected hundreds of pairs of flip flops, toiletries, books, and clothing.
"It makes me feel really good that that I am not just looking out for myself, but the less fortunate too," she said.
The family will pack up all the donations and deliver them to the Orphanage this coming Tuesday.