Calif. girl, 5, sells cookies and cocoa to cover classmates’ lunch debts

SAN DIEGO (KSWB/CNN) - A 5-year-old California girl has a heart filled with compassion for her classmates and a willingness to roll up her sleeves and help.

Katelynn Hardee, 5, has a heart filled with compassion for her classmates and a willingness to roll up her sleeves and help. (Source: Karina Hardee via KSWB/CNN)

The little girl sold cookies and hot cocoa to raise money to pay off negative lunch balances at her school.

"I can give money to the lunch people that don't have the money,” said Katelynn Hardee, describing her plan.

It all started when Katelynn overheard another student's mother saying she was having a hard time paying for something.

That's when the wheels in her young mind started turning.

“She's very inquisitive. And so, she started asking me a bunch of questions and I tried to answer as best as I could without too much for a 5-year-old and just explained to her that some people aren't as fortunate as us,” said Caitlin’s mother Karina Hardee.

Katelynn decided she had to help.

"Her idea was, ‘Could we do a hot cocoa and cookie stand?’ And I said, ‘Let's do it,’” said Karina Hardee.

"There were cookies and a snowman and a snowflake one,” Katelynn said.

She worked hard.

"She sat out there for probably about three hours and sold through all the cookies, all the hot cocoa,” Hardee said.

Even after three grueling hours of pedaling delicious cookies and hot cocoa, they still had to find out if donating was even possible.

"I just left a note saying my daughter held a hot cocoa fundraiser over the weekend and would love to donate the money to any of the negative accounts,” said Hardee.

The money Katelynn raised paid off the lunch balances for 123 students and right on time for the Christmas season.

Katelynn is seeing firsthand how far an act of generosity can go.

"Her actions do create awesomeness,” said Hardee.

Katelynn was honored this week by her school with an award for her act of generosity.

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