(CBS DETROIT) – A week ago, students at Bailey Lake Elementary in Clarkston started a school-wide coin drive in order to raise funds for a former classmate living in Poland, whose family has been taking in Ukrainian refugees.

“We are beyond thrilled to give them this check and give them this money today,” said fourth-grade teacher Bethany Rocho.

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The school set out to raise whatever they could with no set goal in mind, but when the totals came in on Friday, they exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“Open your eyes,” Rocho says to her former student via zoom.

“Can you read that number? What does it say?” said the former student’s father, OT Benson.

“$12,962.21, that’s a lot of money,” said fourth-grader LJ Benson as she saw the huge check held by her former classmates via zoom.

Rocho says that number has gone up even more over the weekend and is well over $13,000.

A five-day coin drive at the school quickly turned into an even bigger event with donations from the community pouring in.

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“We had people wanting to Venmo us we had people wanting to drop off checks, larger bills,” says Rocho.

She says someone even stopped by her home and gave a check after hearing about the coin drive.

Since February, the Benson family has provided temporary shelter for more than 30 Ukrainian refugees in their Poland home. They say the donations will go far.

“They don’t have suitcases, and they don’t have many changes of clothes. So your money they donated, they can buy these people new shirts, new pants, new shoes.” OT Benson said via zoom to his daughter’s former classmates in Clarkston. “You guys have helped a lot of people so thank you so much.”

The coin drive is over but if you would like to make a donation that will go directly to Ukrainian refugees, the school is still accepting donations. You can reach them at the number below:

Bailey Lake Elementary in Clarkston

Main phone line: 248-623-5300

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