JELLICO, Tenn. (WATE) — A group of Santa’s elves was working hard at Jellico Elementary School

The cafeteria workers bought a Christmas tree for each class to decorate. The Christmas trees were then auctioned off to raise money for students’ meal purchases. 

Kim Ruiz says some of the most talked about trees were the Dr. Pepper tree and the Grinch tree. She and her coworkers were happy to use some of their own money to give back. 

“We are fortunate enough we have jobs; our husbands have jobs so we feel like if we can help one child, one person, and all three of us hate saying no, so this way we always reach in our pockets this way we reach out to everybody as well as our own pockets to get it started,” said Ruiz. 

Feeling the Christmas spirit in their matching “Lunch Lady Elf” shirts, they invited Santa to visit the school. The ladies served cookies and milk while Santa read The Night Before Christmas to students. 

Ruiz added framed photos of the kids with Santa were auctioned off to raise more money. 

“It’s very rewarding because we don’t pick just one, we are going to get to help a whole bunch of children and that means a lot more than just picking one or two a day that we can help feed or give to,” said Ruiz. 

This year’s Festival of Trees auction raised close to $1,000.