3 little girls pay it forward for kids at Ronald McDonald House

FOX 32 NEWS - Three 5th grade girls from the south suburbs are teaching us a lesson about paying it forward.

After their teacher's sister was killed in a car accident, they decided to take a tiny amount of money and turn it into a big gift in her memory.

The girls arrived at the Ronald McDonald house in Oak Lawn Tuesday afternoon carrying toys, books, snacks and toiletries for the families who stay there, which is across the street from Advocate Children's Hospital.

And it all started with three dollars and these three girls from Trinity Lutheran School in Tinley Park.

"I had done a project with my students the last two years where I'd given them a dollar and then I challenged them to make a difference with the one dollar,” said teacher Katrina Kloess.

For teacher Katrina Kloess, that assignment took on special meaning this year when her sister, 29-year-old Katie Kloess, also a Lutheran school teacher, was killed in a car accident near Marengo just before Christmas.

So, Katrina gave her students a dollar in Katie’s name and asked them to pay it forward.

But instead of just buying something, Cailey, Delaney and Shannon had another idea.

"We made a YouTube video and put it on Facebook and on YouTube,” Delaney said.

And in that video they asked for more.

"Our idea is to ask family and friends to donate a dollar with this project. With the money we raise we will buy toys and supplies for children and babies in the area,” the kids said.

"We were thinking do we want to help one or two people or as many people as we can. And we all agreed we wanted to help as many people as we could,” Shannon said.

That’s how three dollars turned into 418 dollars’ worth of gifts in Katie’s name for the Ronald McDonald House.

"That is definitely what our families need because you're racing to get to the hospital, you're not thinking about bringing your toothbrush, right?" said Anne Czarnecki.

"It makes us proud of these kids. I know Katie would be touched. She would be so amazed by them and proud of them too for wha they're doing,” Kloess said.

The kids said they learned they “can make a difference."

Now this is not a one-time deal. The girls told FOX 32 they want to keep Katie's memory alive on an annual basis by continuing to pay it forward once a year for the children at the Ronald McDonald House.