By Matt Kroschel

FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4)– When Tanya Cohen received word from her son’s school that he owed money on his school lunch account, she didn’t know how she was going to pay the bill.

Cohen says her family is living paycheck to paycheck. But then she received word an unknown donor had covered the unpaid school lunch balance.

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There are many great Together 4 Colorado stories that CBS4 broadcasts, but this one was a little different because the person who started all of the giving is just 4 years old.

“When you actually sit down and do the math it is almost $880 a year to feed your child hot lunch at school,” Cohen told CBS4.

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She falls in the gap of not qualifying for free or reduced lunch because her hourly pay exceeds the limits, but still lives in a community with an extraordinary high cost of living.

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So, when she received word the bill was paid by someone else, she turned to a local community Facebook page to let everyone know about the good deed.

“I got this private message from a parent who said it was their 4-year-old who had the idea to make that donation,” Cohen said. “He passed up Christmas presents with one request, that all kids have a hot lunch at school.”

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Cohen shared the amazing update on Facebook, although the mystery donor asked to keep their names confidential.

That’s when the events really took on a life of their own.

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“It’s a big deal… what this does, this story, makes you realize is that we need to make sure people realize what the needs are in our community. We have a very giving community this is one little nugget of a story that turned into this huge active giving,” said Summit County Schools Superintendent Kerry Buhler.

Thousands of dollars is being pledged to help with similar efforts, all because a little boy wanted to make sure his friends had a hot lunch, too.

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“To see all these people just coming together and saying, ‘What can we do as a community to help?’ make me feel so blessed to have my child in this community, to be a part of this community,” Cohen added.

Now other community members are creating fundraisers to help fill the gap for other struggling families. Cohen says she is going to bake cookies and cupcakes, all she asks is people pay it forward to help others like she has been helped.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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