Missouri Girl, 8, Plans ‘Secret Santa’ Christmas Surprise for Less Fortunate Classmates

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

When 8-year-old Alli Koepkey saw some of her elementary school classmates getting off a school bus at an extended stay hotel instead of a home earlier this past fall, she knew she had to do something to help them this holiday season.

Setting aside her own Christmas wish list, the Missouri third grader immediately hatched a big plan that she hoped would brighten their spirits.

"I think they were less fortunate, so I could get them toys and make them happy on Christmas," Alli told CNN affiliate KSHB earlier this week.

The enterprising girl's monthslong plan finally came to fruition thanks to some hard work and lots of determination.

Alli did everything from setting up a lemonade stand to selling hot chocolate in order to raise funds to buy the gifts, the Kansas City television station reported.

But it wasn't until she jumped into a freezing cold lake as part of a publicity stunt that she had enough money to get gifts for some two dozen children.

"Before the jump she had $51 dollars," Ashley Koepkey, Alli's mother, told the station. But after a video clip of her daughter's jump went viral, according to Koepkey, the donations poured in.

"There was one morning I will never forget. We had 97 notifications. It was crazy," she said.

Suddenly, the Koepkey's garage became a staging area for more than 150 toys that would be given to kids between the ages of 1 and 16 years old.

Alli told KSHB she "almost fainted" when she saw how many toys they were able to buy.

The family was expected to make their deliveries Christmas morning. The presents included everything from toys to tablet computers, according to the station.

CNN contributed to this report.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.