Thanks to 8-year-old Cayden Taipalus, a lot of kids will be able to afford school lunch again.
The third-grader at Challenger Elementary in Howell, Michigan recently watched as one of his school friends had to put back his lunch when he didn't have enough money to pay for it, and Taipalus took it upon himself to find a way to support him.
Cayden decided he would raise money to help kids at his school not only relieve their lunch debts, but also have additional credit so they would be able to eat for free.
"I was in lunch one day and a kid in front of me had to put down his tray because he didn't have enough money," Taipalus tells the Good News Blog. "That made him sad, and that made me sad because the kid didn't get to have what he wanted."
The meal in question was French toast - one of Taipalus' favorites - and he wouldn't stand for that.
The little boy adds, "He had to put down his tray and get a cheese sandwich."
After discussing the issue with his mother, Amber, he began collecting donations and recyclables to trade in for cash in order to alleviate outstanding credit, and add money to the accounts of as many low income students as possible. He says he was hoping to raise about $50.
While all children at Taipalus' school are able to eat regardless of financial circumstances, those who are in debt or without money eat a different meal than the rest. To purchase a lunch, each kid has a credit account in which their parents deposit money for them to use.
In February, Taipalus set up a crowd-funding page so family and friends could contribute to the cause, and two weeks later, he was able to pay for 295 lunches. That was only the start. Now, he's up to over $15,000 with 23 days to go, and by Monday, he will be able to pay for over 8,000 lunches at schools throughout his district. Kids will be able to eat a substantial lunch, and even breakfast if they wish.
"It's really crazy because I didn't think it would get so big," he remarks. "By going to different schools, everyone's been hearing about it so they're donating money."
Taipalus may not know exactly who is benefiting from his good deed, as they don't release names, but he believes it is important that all kids be able to enjoy the same pleasures.
"If you want to do something good, a small thing can turn out to be a big thing," he comments. "If you want to be a hero, try something small."
Wise advice from a kid who is definitely a hero.
If you'd like to help support Cayden's mission, you can donate via this website