NEWPORT, N.H. – Bunny Perry wept when she discovered the jimmied door and tallied the toys and clothing that had been stolen from the Christmas gift-giving program she has helped run in the greater Newport area for 15 years.

But an impromptu fundraiser by a local radio station turned outrage into an outpouring of cash in quintessential small-town fashion.

Four days after the Nov. 12 break-in, more than $7,200 was raised in a single day – well over the roughly $500 worth of goods that were stolen.

“I was blown away,” said Perry, 75, who says this is probably her last year chairing the Willey-Perra Christmas Fund.

“I could not believe anyone would break in, and then to have all of this come full-circle and we’re more flush,” she said. “We’re lucky if we have $2,000 in the bank at any given time.”

The program serves about 350 children up to age 18 and requests for help are on the rise, Perry said. In addition to toys and DVDs, Perry said they try to give boots, jackets and ski pants. Stolen from the program was a mix of toys for younger children, DVDs and adult-sized clothing.

“How do you steal from a child who has nothing to begin with?” said Donna Mahair, co-chair.

The fundraising began simply enough, with the auction of a couple of a tickets to a Manchester Monarchs hockey game.

WCNL General Manager Steve Smith hosts an hour-long radio talk show Tuesday mornings “It grew exponentially,” Smith said.

Willey-Perra fund treasurer Terri Spanos said Tuesday more than $8,000 had been raised in a week. 

“It brought tears to my eyes, seeing all the money come in,” Spanos said. “One person sent $10 and a note that read, ‘I know it’s not much, but God bless the children of Newport.”‘ 

Perry said a major shopping and wrapping project is planned before gifts are distributed Dec. 18.