HOUSTON (CNN) — Kids in Utah who had their lunches taken away because their accounts were empty inspired one man to make sure it didn’t happen at his son’s school in Texas.
Kenny Thompson, father and tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, took $465 of his own money and paid off the account balances of 60 kids.
“They don’t need to be worried about finances,” he said. “They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling.”
For 10 years Thompson has served as a mentor and tutor. After hearing about the students in Utah, Thompson inquired about school lunches at his son’s school. He learned that some children had negative balances on their lunch accounts and were eating cold cheese sandwiches instead of a hot meal like the other students. He also learned that many kids were on a reduced lunch — children whose parents couldn’t afford the meals that cost just 40 cents a day.
That’s when Thompson took $465 dollars of his own money and zeroed out the delinquent accounts of more than 60 students.
Thompson said many kids he knows with negative accounts forgo the lunch line altogether to avoid embarrassment, but physicians have linked classroom performance with proper nutrition.
Thompson believes he made a difference when he made the decision to help those students.
“When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn’t have that stress … the best money I ever spent.”