It's barely December, but Christmas has already come and gone at the University of Houston Law Center.
Members of the center's more than 20 student groups came together to collect some $4,000 in toys, which they donated to area charities.
Law students dressed as elves went classroom to classroom asking for "$5 or a toy." The money collected was used to purchase toys at area toy stores.
"We wanted to use the money directly to buy toys, instead of donating it to an organization. That way there wasn't any administrative overhead," said Coordinating Elf Tim Welton.
The event was coordinated by the Board of Advocates, the umbrella organization for the Law Center's student groups.
The Center has held similar events in the past, but this drive was by far the largest and most successful, Welton said.
"One of our deans figured that we would be wildly successful if we raised $2,000, and we doubled that. I guess we're wildly successful twice over," Welton said.
"This will probably become an annual event," he added.
The drive culminated in a "wrap party" Nov. 19 at which students gathered to wrap the presents, listen to Christmas music and just have fun.
The toys were later presented to representatives from the Houston Women's Center, CASA and the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church's Angel Tree Program. Those organizations will distribute the toys to needy children.
"For most of us, this is only the beginning of (charitable) contributions during our legal careers," Welton said.