They were stunned to find this note in their daughter’s purse

Little Hattie May didn’t have much. Daddy lost his job at the factory and Mommy couldn’t work anymore.

But that was OK. Hattie didn’t want anything…except to go to Sunday School. She watched with envy as the little boys and girls piled into the community center, wearing their crisp, white shirts and navy blazers.

She looked down at her shabby clothes. They were full of holes, and her hands were dirty.

Tears welled up in her big brown eyes. She was tired of the word, “no.”

Inspirational Archive shared this true story about how the selflessness of one little girl touched the lives of thousands.

Read what happened below.

A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it ‘was too crowded’. “I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kindhearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribble in childish handwriting which read, “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school.”

For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do.

Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there!

A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for a 57 cent payment.

Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 — a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside at Sunday school time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, Acres of Diamonds — a true story.

In a world rife with trouble, many take the easy way out by throwing up their hands and exclaiming, “I’m just one person!”

But this story proves that the good intentions of one person can make a difference. Perhaps she couldn’t do it on her own, but with a team standing behind her ideals, the cause was unstoppable.

Still don’t believe it?

Imagine an ant. Incredibly, one ant can lift objects many times its own body weight. Nevertheless, it’s still a tiny creature that can be destroyed between your thumb and index finger.

But the ant’s real power is its strength in numbers. When they work together, a colony of ants is a force to be reckoned with.

This little girl’s passion was contagious. Her legacy will live on as an everlasting inspiration.