(Republic, MO) -- Many kids donate to the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots program, but it's unusual for them to write personal letters to the children receiving the toys.
Republic Middle School sixth grader Maci McReynolds has been involved with the program since she was three. This year, she included a note that touched a lot of hearts.
Republic Middle School held an assembly Wednesday which included Maci receiving a plaque for her contributions.
Marines, students and faculty, and Maci's parents attended, but what was so special about the recognition is that Maci had no idea it was coming.
"I was just like why are my parents here."
The school faculty and her parents knew about the whole thing, but Maci was completely shocked.
"My teacher came up to me and she's like, 'will you walk with me to the auditorium?' And I'm like 'okay, just talking to my friends' and I wonder why, and then they started talking about Toys for Tots and the letter and then I knew that I was going to be going up in front of everybody."
Her mom is so proud of her.
"There aren't words for it really; it makes me want to cry."
Because she knows she is setting a good example.
"In a sense, she represents the masses," says Sgt. Dakina Frederick. "She represents all those young children who have donated, but this time we actually have a face to go along with the name."
Sgt. Frederick says they typically only receive toys.
"We haven't received any letters that's what was different and there's hundreds -- probably thousands -- of children that donate and this is the first time we've ever received a letter."
He says there are a lot of families that are struggling.
"They're hard-working people and sometimes they can't make ends meet the way they need to."
And that's why people like Maci want to help.
"We just go find toys that are at stores like Target and we buy different toys that we would have bought when we were at that age and we usually get a toy for a littler kid, a bigger kid, and a teenager."
Because no one wants to be left out over the holidays. Maci doesn't want any child to be disappointed.
"Even if you think you don't have a good life, there's always someone out there who's worse off than you are."
More than 98 percent of your donation to Toys for Tots provides toys, books and other gifts to less fortunate children.