8th-Grader Who Helps Dad Raise Her 5 Siblings Is Approached by a Secret Santa

Lois Oladejo
May 01, 2022
11:30 A.M.
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It always feels extra special when a helping hand comes at a time one least expects. Emily from Idaho can attest to this after a rewarding end-of-the-year gift from secret Santa. 


Santa's always watching, and Emily from Idaho knows this first hand. The young teenager, who has dealt with many responsibilities in the past years, got a pleasant visit from the East Idaho Secret Santa.

Since 2020, family and friends watched 14-year-old Emily square her young shoulders and take over many responsibilities for her siblings after her mom passed. However, in the yuletide period of 2021, a close friend thought it was time for Emily to get a handsome reward for all her hard work.

A family photo of Emily and her siblings. | Source: Idaho News



The Secret Santa program was created to reward the Eastern Idaho residents and reach out to those in need during the yuletide. The initiative started in 2015, and with the help of the East Idaho News crew, it has seen tremendous progress.

Since its year of creation, the gift-sharing program has shelled out over $3 million in gift items like cars, gift cards, household items, furniture, and other necessities. The news director at East Idaho News, Nate Eaton, works alongside the anonymous Secret Santa. 

The three news elves. | Source: Idaho News



In 2021, East Idaho's Secret Santa, who prefers to keep his identity from the public, came across the sad life story of a young girl in the community. Although very young, Emily had already seen a lot and had a lot on her hands.

Emily's friend, who has been close to her since the third grade, reached out to Secret Santa, penning a comprehensive chronicle of her struggles. The letter explained that Emily's grandma died of cancer when she was very young.

After her grandmother's death, Emily became apprehensive that the same ailment would take her mom's life too. Fast forward to 2020, and Emily's fears began to manifest before her eyes.


A photo of Emily's late mother. | Source: Idaho News

Her mom got ill and was taken to the hospital. After several unyielding treatments, Emily's mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The sad news tore through the family, and in a few months, the mom was gone.


Emily wasted no time taking up the role of mom for her five young siblings. Even before their mom passed on, Emily was very active in catering to everyone's needs. While her dad worked to sustain their finances, Emily juggled between school and housekeeping. 

Emily and her brother, Henry looking confused on seeing The three news elves. | Source: Idaho News



Her pal wrote in the entry letter that went to Secret Santa alongside many other people's letters. She said that Emily had an air of positivity around her despite all that the young teen was going through.

Emily was a helpful person, and she often showed compassion to others. The letter writer described her beloved friend as "the sweetest person" they had met. 

The story was touching enough for Secret Santa to launch into action, immediately arranging an early Christmas present. The East Idaho News Elves were also sent to present the gift items to Emily.


Emily looking amazed after receiving gifts from Secret Santa. | Source: Idaho News


The three news elves, including the anchor Nate, made their way to Emily's neighborhood. When they got to her parent's home, they met her dad, who informed them that Emily was not home. 


As soon as they made their way out of her parent's driveway, Emily and her younger brother, Henry, walked down the road toward the elves. Just outside the gate, Nate and the other two elves shared the good news with her.

Nate noted that there were presents for her, and she could share them with her siblings. The eighth-grader could not fathom the next few minutes as she looked on in confusion. Nate started by giving her a box filled with gift cards worth $1000.

Emily placing her head on her father's chest after breaking the good news to him. | Source: Idaho News


This was to help pay bills in selected local restaurants of her choice alongside the family. Emily was shocked beyond words, and when she could get out a few words, her voice was choked with emotions. Nate also handed her $2000 gift cards for groceries and other types of shopping.

Nate explained that she and her siblings could shop for clothes and shoes. The last item was yet to be presented, but Emily was clearly impressed. The youngster's confused and guarded demeanor gave way to shock and excitement.


The anchor presented the last gift item, noting that she got $2000 gift cards to purchase cooking and kitchen items because Emily loved cooking.

Of course, by now, she had a big smile on her face as she thanked the elves and sent a warm message to Secret Santa. 

Emily kept sharing words of appreciation, and when her dad found out, he joined in the celebration thanking the generous Santa for reaching out. It was clear from their joy that Christmas was about to be merrier.