UNSUNG HERO: 10-year-old raises money for families in need - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: 10-year-old raises money for families in need

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FRANKLIN COUNTY -- The holiday's may be over, but one Franklin County girl is already making plans for the next Christmas. For the past two-years, 10-year-old Lilyanne Cooksey has helped give presents to families in need.Lily was determined to earn her money, not have it given to her.

They say, grandma's house is where memories are made.

"It's pretty fun because it's Grandma," said Lily. The kitchen is where Lily spent most of her days leading up to Christmas.
Grandma, Gaye Morris, helped Lily bake brownies from scratch using an old family recipe, but the brownies were for sharing.

"I just saw the desire in her heart, as a 10-year-old, to want to give to others and to reach out," said Morris. 

Lily decided to use her love for baking to help others. It all started two years ago, when she saw something at school that bothered her.

"There was some kids that really needed help and you could tell that they had rips in their clothes," explained Lily. 

She remembers talking to her mother Meridy later that day. "I said, there's kids in my class that really need the help. Can I help them by raising money?" 

She began with crafts like, "ornaments, mason jars as reindeer and then a penguin with the coke bottles," she added. 

Then she took to social media to ask for donations, raising $700 for two families the first year. This past Christmas, she decided to do it again adding goodies like brownies, "white pretzels or chocolate covered pretzels." 

Many of her family members, including both grandmas and a cousin, helped her bake more than 22-batches of brownies. With almost $900, Lily was able to help five families get toys, clothes and and gift cards.

"So, in reality, it's a community project because of lot of donations came, of course, from friends and family," added Morris.         

Lily hopes to make this a family tradition and is already thinking about how she can do more next Christmas.

"I was really excited and really amazed that people donated," added Lily.

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