Third grader raises money to become ‘Secret Santa’ for less fortunate classmates

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – One family in Missouri put the finishing touches on a big Christmas surprise just in time.

They were hoping to make this holiday special for children who wouldn’t have much to celebrate.

Around their dining room table, the Koepkey family put the finishing touches on 24 stockings.

The stockings were meant for 24 children who live in an extended stay hotel in Blue Springs, Missouri.

The Koepkey’s garage was a staging area for more than 150 toys. All of them were meant for children between the ages of 1 and 16-years-old.

Not a single one of them knew what was coming, or that their Santa Claus is a third grader.

When 8-year-old Alli Koepkey saw some of her classmates getting off the school bus at a hotel, she knew she wanted to help.

“I think they were less fortunate, so I could get them toys and make them happy on Christmas,” Alli said.

She set to work and tried to raise money any way she could.

“I jumped in a freezing cold lake. I made a lemonade stand. I made a hot cocoa stand,” she said.

Alli’s mother, Ashley, says it was her jump into the lake that made Alli’s Christmas dream a reality.

“Before the jump, she had $51,” Ashley Koepkey said.

The clip was posted to social media and went viral on Facebook.

That’s when the donations really started.

“There was one morning I will never forget, we had 97 notifications. It was crazy,” she said.

Alli says she “almost fainted” after she saw what her hard work had really done.

On Christmas morning, the Koepkeys delivered all the gifts to the children on Alli’s list.

“She does not understand the magnitude, she won’t ever,” Ashley Koepkey said.

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