Students receive big holiday surprise after gifts intended for n - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Students receive big holiday surprise after gifts intended for needy children were stolen

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

It's one of the joy's of the holidays: being able to watch the eyes of a child light up with joy when they unwrap their newest treasure. 

For Ariella Cole at Beyer Elementary School, she wanted to bring that joy to students who probably wouldn't receive anything this year. That's why the behavior specialist put together this year's "Secret Santa" in partnership with Youth Services Network and Adopt an Angel. 

"I submitted about 12 kids and I got all of those presents, so I was really happy to get all those things for the kids," Cole said.

She collected 12 presents for 12 kids in need, until tragedy struck. 

"Earlier in the week, I had a home invasion at home and a lot of my personal things were taken, gifts included. But also the gifts for the students here," Cole said. 

It was a tragedy followed by heartbreak for the teacher. 

"It's so sad because they even had the tags on them that said that they were for kids for Adopt an Angel," said Cole. "So it was just really sad that someone would take things that were meant for kids who obviously were in need at Christmas time." 

The story could have ended there. 

"It could have ended horribly, because that's how I thought it was going to end and the kids just wouldn't anything," said Cole. 

But it didn't. A fellow teacher took to friends and social media. 

"It just exploded!" said Rissa Spangler. 

"Never in a million years did I think this would be possible," said Beyer's Principal Treveda Redmond. 

The community heard and responded. 

Soon 12 gifts turned into 200. It was enough to where every child at Beyer was able to receive a gift this Christmas at Beyer. 

"Hopefully this is something that will stick with them for their life, that someone did this to me," Redmond said. "When they hear about something bad that happens they will in turn use this, remember this and be able to bless someone else." 

"It's amazing how people can come together and when they find out about something so tragic to come together and help out," Cole said. 

Beyer Elementary School says that could not have done this without the generosity of several RPS schools, businesses and community members. As for the person who stole the presents from Cole, police have not caught them yet. 

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