PHILADELPHIA, Tenn. (CBS Local) — A Tennessee boy who lost all of his possessions in a house fire was “surprised and thankful” Friday when his classmates presented him with new toys.
Daniel Hunt, 8, watched in disbelief Sept. 21 as flames engulfed his family home in Loudon County. Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire, but all his toys were lost.
“It was a kitchen fire. I’m not sure how it happened. We found some bits and pieces that were salvageable — my wedding ring made it — but nothing else made it,” Hunt’s mom, Kristen Wilburn, told CNN.
That’s when Hunt’s third grade teachers and classmates at Philadelphia Elementary School decided to hold a “secret toy drive for him to replace the toys he lost.”
“It was very sweet and a lot of fun for the kids. They needed to keep it a secret, so they would walk in every morning that week whispering, ‘I have this toy for Daniel hidden in my backpack,’” Hunt’s homeroom teacher Casey MacKintosh told CNN.
The children kept the growing stockpile of toys hidden from Daniel all week. Then on Friday, a teacher sent Hunt on an errand outside the classroom.
“When he came back, we yelled ‘surprise!’ and instead of rushing to the toys, he just held his arms open and asked his classmates for a hug,” MacKintosh said.
“I was like — my mind was blown,” Hunt told CBS affiliate WVLT.
Hunt’s classmates donated several board games, stuffed animals, sports equipment, toy cars, LEGO sets, a Star Wars Mr. Potato Head and a Detective Pikachu figure, the New York Daily News reported.
“I sat and cried at work for a good 45 minutes,” Wilburn said. “I’m just so overwhelmed at all the love and the community coming together for us. It’s just very overwhelming and a blessing.”
Kristen and Daniel are staying with family until they get back on their feet.