Every year the human resources department at Madison Metropolitan School District gets into the holidays.

They decorate their cubicles, do a cookie exchange and hand out awards for ugliest sweater. But this year, they wanted to do something different, so they started a fundraiser.

“In HR there’s about 25 people,” said Tina Updike, the human resources information systems supervisor. “So we thought, ‘Oh, we’ll do a little collection. We’ll collect a few hundred bucks, and we’ll put that money toward paying off some of these school lunch balances.’”

Then administrative assistant Ndaziona Ndafooka took it to Facebook, putting up a goal to bring in $500.

“Five hundred dollars, like that was my ambitious goal of reaching something,” she said. “And it just blew up.”

Five hundred dollars quickly became thousands, each person only contributing little by little.

It’s exciting for Ndafooka and Updike, who said the money will go to pay off lunches some students couldn’t afford.

“I’m sure this is only one of many things that they’re thinking about in their lives so to take away one thing, it’s great,” Updike said.

Now this movement sparked by an idea is reminding them what’s possible, especially around the holidays.

“Sometimes you think that helping is just this little tiny seed,” Ndafooka said. “It’s not going to really produce any type of momentum, or it’s not going to impact that well; and if you plant it and let it grow, it might just explode.”

Ndafooka said the department doesn’t know how long the fundraiser will go, but she said anyone can donate anytime by contacting the district office.