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Thank you for your question.
It is not unfair to make her reimburse any funds she wrongfully took from the employer, despite her charitable motivations. She is lucky they did not call the police. Threatening to call the police unless she repaid what she wrongfully took is not illegal. If the employer asked for any more than what she took, that could be seen as extortion, but it seems like the employer is not being unreasonable or unfair.
I am sorry this is probably not the answer you had hoped for, but no court in the US is going to excuse a theft just because the theft was committed for a noble cause. It would be unfair to you, and unprofessional of me, not to provide my honest opinion based on over 30 years as an attorney.
I hope this information is helpful.
They could have been much more harsh.