Most of you know about the disgraceful scene last week at a Salt Lake City elementary school, where 40 kids had their lunches thrown away because they had negative balances in their accounts. When Kenny Thompson, a longtime tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, found out that several kids at his school had negative balances, he was determined to prevent a repeat performance of what happened in Salt Lake City. So Thompson stepped up and fully funded the accounts.
"I'm like, 'Wow. I know that's probably a situation at my school, and the school my son goes to, and the other schools I mentor at.' So I came in and inquired about it," Thompson said.Watch the full piece from KPRC-TV in Houston here:
He not only inquired about it, Thompson learned that many of the kids were already on reduced lunch. Children whose parents couldn't afford the meals that cost just 40 cents a day. He took $465 of his own money and zeroed out the delinquent accounts of more than 60 kids.
"These are elementary school kids. They don't need to be worried about finances," said Thompson. "They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling."
The kids with negative balances had been making do with cold cheese sandwiches. Now they get to have a good hot meal like everyone else. Thompson said one other thing that spurred him to action was that a lot of kids were skipping the lunch line altogether rather than endure the embarrassment. In some cases, this meant they were missing out on the only full meal they'd even get a chance to have at all during the day.
Within hours of this running on KPRC's Monday news, the station's phone line blew up with calls from people asking how they could help. Thompson has now taken his effort national, and has started a foundation called Feed the Future Forward to make sure kids everywhere get fed. Donate here.
Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 5:29 AM PT: Since this is still on the rec list this morning, I thought I'd mention that Bastrop (per the comments) can vouch for Thompson being legitimate--although he doesn't know Thompson personally, they have mutual friends (I'd previously said he could personally vouch for the site as well, but misread his comment). And get this--Thompson is a union stagehand. So when a stagehand steps up where area bluebloods won't, that says something. Also, this organization needs a lot of help, since this is very much in its infancy. Specifically, "volunteers, fundraising ideas, people experienced at writing grant requests, accounting help and many other things."
Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 1:19 PM PT: Several commenters have pointed out--rightly--that this step shouldn't even be necessary. I couldn't agree more. But until the schools are adequately funded, we can't just sit there and do nothing.