Katelynn Hardee, 5, overheard one of her friends' parents talking about how they were having a hard time paying for an after-school program, her mom, Karina, told FOX Business' Charles Payne.
"She started asking me a bunch of questions," Hardee said on "Making Money with Charles Payne" on Monday. "From there, she asked if there was something that she could do."
Hardee reminded her daughter of the time they set up a lemonade stand in the summer.
"She asked if she could do a hot cocoa and cookie stand, and I said 'Let's do it,'" Hardee said. "She sat out there the entire time, and it was about three hours."
Hardee said Katelynn made nearly $50 from the hot cocoa stand and they made $30 from a commissioned art painting from a family friend. She decided to donate all the proceeds to her classmates.
Hardee went in and left it for the cafeteria manager.
"The cafeteria manager contacted me and said that she was just in awe that Katelynn, one, wanted to hold a stand and, two, that she even thought to pay back to her community and to her fellow classmates," Hardee said.
All told, Katelynn raised enough money to pay off the negative school lunch debt for 123 students.
Hardee said other nearby communities have come together to do similar things.
"It's really been amazing," Hardee said.