Last week, a Utah school made national headlines because over thirty students saw their lunch thrown away before they could eat. The reason? The students owed debts to the cafeteria. Houston, Texas resident Kenny Thompson saw the story, and wondered if that could be a problem in his community. Thompson learned that some students at Valley Oaks Elementary School were being given cheese sandwiches instead of a hot lunch because they had outstanding debts to the cafeteria. He tells Houston TV station KPRC:
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 serves as a volunteer and student mentor in several of his local schools. When he inquired about the situation at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, he learned that many of the students who owed money are also on reduced price lunch. Those meals cost just 40 cents a day, yet many parents still could not afford it. So Thompson decided to help. He opened his wallet and zeroed the balance on some 60 student lunch accounts, to the tune of $465.
Evidence shows students need a good lunch to do well in school.
Kenny Thompson says that he knows some students who have no money in their lunch account skip the line so as to not be embarrassed. Doctors agree that good nutrition is important, and directly tied to student performance. Still, as recently as last year, some Republicans in congress have attempted to cut funding for school lunch programs.
These are elementary school kids. They don’t need to be worried about finances. They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling.
Thompson tells KPRC, “When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn’t have that stress — best money I ever spent.”
Here’s the video, from KPRC/CNN: