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Upset over trashed lunches, man makes sure it doesn’t happen at his school

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HOUSTON (KPRC) - A man decided to put his money to good use when he saw dozens of Houston school children eating cold lunches. He not only bought their lunch, but also paid the students' overdue account balances.

Kenny Thompson said he was spurred to take action after hearing about dozens of Utah students whose accounts were delinquent and had their lunches taken and thrown away.

"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.

When Thompson learned that many of the kids were already on the reduced lunch, children whose parents could not afford the meals that cost just 40 cents a day, he took $465 of his own money and paid off the accounts of more than 60 children.

"These are elementary school kids," he said. "They don't need to be worried about finances. They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling."

Thompson said many students who know they have negative lunch account skip the lunch line to avoid embarrassment.  Thompson said he believed 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," he said.


  • Brigitt

    What an amazing act of kindness…. Kudos to him!!!! As a new mommy I couldnt never imagine someone having the audacity to throw away a hungry childs lunch!!!!!

  • Herman Forstmann

    I wish I could thank him personally! That was a wonderful, generous act, and though I have no children there, I would be the most grateful parent in the world if these WERE my children!

  • Mike Gilley

    god will bless this man,but how can lunches be 40 cents, i graduated high school in 82, we were paying 1.35 back then, my kids were paying 1.95 in thethere last years of high school. maybe middle school is different, i cant remember that far back.

    • KrisC

      Mike, $0.40 was the reduced lunch price. That means these kids already qualified for government aid for lunches and only had to pay a fraction of the full price. And sadly, their parents/guardians cannot afford that either. The full price now for lunches is up around $2.25 – $2.50 at most schools.

    • Stacy

      The .40$ cost is so low because there already reduced lunch prices and the parents were not able to pay for that cost. My sons school does this, f a child’s funds were low they take the lunch away and toss it making the kid walk away embarrassed.

  • Sharon L. Smatusek Harris

    Bless this man. With the really cold winter, the cost of heating a house has really gone up. Some parents have to worry about keeping the house warm — with high oil and electric bills (and now, propane is outrageous) and putting off on other expenses. TY! TY! TY!

  • Concerned Mom

    It is happening in Richmond, VA as well. I was upset when my child told me they took her lunch and it was just an oversight for her account to be in the rear. Highland Springs HS. I would think since they are throwing away the food anyway, they would want the child to eat it and not go hungry.

    • Catherine

      That was my thought too. If you’re going to throw it away, which makes no money, then why not just let the kids eat it? Or save them and give them to a homeless shelter if you’re that hell bent on starving kids who can’t control what their parents can afford.

  • Barbara Epps

    God will bless this Man why cant more be like this.? This an example of what can be done for children who have needs that arent being met . Much LOVE AND RESPECT TO YOU MAN !!!!!!!

  • Kimberly

    As a school cafeteria asst. I can attest to all the food that the nutrition services waste. They are more concerned about the all mighty dollar than the children. I have never understood why they would rather throw away the food than to give it to the children. I am not one to let a child of any age go without eating and have been pulled into office and verbally repermanded for giving kids food ,even if they didnt have money, by the head of the nutrition services of school district. Back when I was in elementary school I remember if there was left overs we could get back in line and get second at no charge.

  • sw

    I’m sorry but no child should have to pay for lunch period. Going to school is required and lunch should be served to all children in public schools (all schools should be can’t control private ones. The meals at school are sometimes the only meal a kid gets throughout the day. The government needs to take this opportunity to make sure at least all children in public schools are at least getting one healthy meal each weekday. JMHO

  • Alison Chase

    One time my daughters acct was neg because of oversight on my part. She came home upset because she couldn’t eat. I went to the school the next day and raised holy hell. I PD the past due balance and PD enough to cover her til end of year. That school knew to call me b4 denying my child ever again. I threatened to file a lawsuit for child abuse b/c that is what it is.

  • Ben Straughn

    Funny how the government has no problem taking food away from a kid because their parents got into debt with the school, but I wonder how many politicians are missing meals over the billions of dollars of debt they create every day?

  • Rocky

    Thank god for people like you.. when I first heard of this story I thought, that they rather throw food in the garbage instead of feeding children. wow!!! what kind of world are we living in. SHAMFULL!!!!!

  • Heartless SOB

    I hate to burst the bubbles here but I have a hard time believing these families can’t afford 4 dimes to feed their children. This is a good man but I’m afraid these families are used to someone else footing the bill. Sure, feed the kids but don’t say it’s because the parents can’t afford it.

    • Valerie Vertigo

      True, but the children are the one’s suffering. Even if the parents can afford it and chose not to pay, the children are suffering by being denied lunch, so paying their balance was more important than pointing fingers as to whether the parents could have afforded it or not.

  • Candice

    He paid the negative balances on these accounts, which is great. But what happens when the parents aren’t able to pay and the students accrue another negative balance? Yes this is a touching story, but the bigger issue is how the school and community are going to handle this continuing problem. I would like to hear what the cafeteria manager and school principal have to say about this.

  • Linda

    It actually doesn’t matter if the parents can’t afford the .40 cents a day or if they just don’t care that their kids have no money in their account to buy lunch. Either way this man prevented children from not eating all day and no undoubtedly prevented embarrassment. Having said that I have to add that having been extremely poor myself years ago it is absolutely possible not to have the money to pay for these lunches. In this day and age you don’t send your
    child in with four dimes, you pre-pay and sometimes people don’t have the $10 – $20 required to do that. Really. If you can’t imagine that then you’re very lucky because I can.

  • JB

    What you do not understand is the lunch program is a Federal Program. The rules and regulations come from their standards. Students must pickup their lunches and check out last because the school is held accountable for lunch components required in this program..

    It is AWFUL to be the cashier at the end of the line and have to remove the tray and tell the student they do not have enough money on their account. Students are usually told they are low on funds over and over.
    The cashier may even stamp hands. Sometimes parents get angry if a hand gets stamped.

    Most schools now have online programs such as EZSchool Pay where parents can actually track accounts. Parents can see balances, track what their children are eating, and even make payments that post within minutes.

    The cafeteria try’s to help students. Many, many wonderful lunch ladies and men have paid on accounts for students and most of these employees get paid minimum wage and only get 4-4 1/2 hours a day.They care and it breaks there hearts too!

    Accounts are the responsibility of the parent! Own it! Your children suffer when you do not take care of them! If you can not afford lunch fill out an application for free or reduced. Go to the school nurse she may be able to help, speak to the director of the lunch program, talk to your church clergy or pack a lunch. Do not send your child to school expecting the school to take care of it….ask for help! there is help available. Some situations can be temporarily approved for 30 days and r reevaluated every 30 days but parents need to be involved.

    Write to your State Representatives for change. Be proactive, stop blaming and find solutions!

    Kudos to this selfless man that helped these students in need!

  • Yawanna be

    Where is that mans wings? I hope the money does go to the student accounts. The school board and ect. can have those fancy dinner/holiday parties but can’t give a child a meal instead throw it away. They want to push for year round school but year round school will equal year round problems like this for example. They ask parents to buy all this extra supplies for kids in the school year and never use it but continue to ask for more throughout the year. That’s money that could go towards a students need. They ask parents to pay insurance/rental fees for computers by the fourth year they could have brought a laptop. I could go on and on! People lust over money but can’t take it to their grave but can give it their future if they had any since.

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