Kenny Thompson just wanted to do what was right by the students he helped serve at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, Texas. Thompson is being called a "lunch angel" after paying off over 60 accounts that were overdue, leaving the children eating nothing but cold sandwiches instead of a hot, healthy lunch.
"It was the best money I ever spent," Thompson, who works as a tutor and mentor at the school, told Today.com. "It was the best gift I ever gave myself. I went into my car and screamed."
Thompson got the idea from learning of the Utah school that took away several children's lunches and threw them in the garbage simply because their parents had fallen behind on paying for the school lunch. He was shocked at what happened and wanted to learn if there was anything he could do, or if there was a problem within his own school that needed correcting.
What he learned startled him: several children in his school were eating cheese sandwiches, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of the full lunch provided by the cafeteria. Others, due to embarrassment, didn't eat anything at all. Making matters worse was the fact that many of the children were already on a reduced lunch payment planning, meaning that they only had to pay 40 cents per day.
"It was horrifying, it broke my heart," Thompson said. "These are elementary kids. They're not bankers and not responsible for the financial issues in the household. We don't know what they have for breakfast. That's the only meal we can control," he said of the lunches.
Thompson wound up paying $465 in order to catch up all the children who can now enjoy a full meal every day. But Thompson is determined not to stop with his own school. He has already found another school to help and more students he wants to make sure are fed a good, healthy lunch.
"When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn't have that stress," he told Click2Houston.com, "it was the best money I ever spent."