12-year-old girl’s secret, year-long mission to help other kids

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Like most young people, 12-year-old Catherine Rigney has put in a good bit of thought about what would be fun to find under the Christmas tree, but it's not her tree or her wish list she's thinking about.

"When I found out, I was floored. That's not me at 11 or 12 years old, I was more concerned with what I would get, not what I would give. What she has done is really remarkable," said Capt. Jimmy Taylor, of the Alamance County Salvation Army.

Rigney helped out last year at the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program, giving out gifts for kids. She says she saw so many families in need and that it inspired her to do something about it. For the past year, without letting the Salvation Army know about her project, she quietly raised money to buy as many presents as she could for families.

"I did lemonade sales, walked dogs, made bracelets. I'm pretty sure most kids really want to run out and find toys under their Christmas tree," said Rigney.

She has bought dozens of pairs of shoes, clothing, toys and games so far, enough to fill 5 big boxes. She and her mom shopped all year in the off seasons, stretching their money, trying to get the best deals they could.

Catherine hopes to inspire other young people to do the same thing. "It really does make me feel good. I like to make other people happy."

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