Michigan: When eight-year-old American Cayden Taipalus was waiting in the lunch line at his elementary school in Howell recently, he was dismayed when a student standing in front of him was denied a hot meal. The child didn’t have enough funds in his account to pay for the meal everyone else was getting, so he was given a cheese sandwich instead. The policy is clear-cut: When a child’s account balance drops to a negative $5 balance, that student is given a sandwich.
Food for soul: Cayden was moved when a child ahead of him in the lunch line at school was denied a hot meal
Determined to make sure that no other student at Challenger Elementary School would have to face such a humiliating experience, Cayden and his mom launched a small-scale fundraiser. They started returning empty bottles and asking friends for donations in the hopes of paying off families’ outstanding balances.
Once the word got out about Cayden’s mission, his campaign took off. He took his fundraiser online — and, in the past couple of weeks, the ‘Pay It Forwward: No Kid Goes Hungry’ initiative has inspired donors from as far as Taiwan to give.
$64 pays for about 150 lunches. As of Wednesday afternoon, “Pay It Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry,” has raised more than $14,000. Cayden has taken his extra donations to additional schools to help out other local kids in need.