"When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn't have that stress. The best money I ever spent."
A generous gesture from a school mentor; when Kenny Thompson saw dozens of children forced to eat cold lunch, he opened his wallet. He didn't just buy them lunch for the day. He paid off their overdue accounts.
"The one meal we can control in the school is lunch."
In his ten years as a mentor and tutor -- Kenny Thompson has always done his best to meet the needs of the students in his life. That's exactly what he did Monday when he learned that some children at Valley Oaks elementary school in Houston -- who had negative balances on their lunch accounts -- were receiving different lunches than the other kids; cold cheese sandwiches, instead of a full tray of food.
He was spurred to take action after hearing last week -- dozens of Utah students -- whose accounts were delinquent -- 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."
He not only inquired about it. Thompson learned that many of the kids were already on reduced lunch -- children whose parents couldn't afford the meals that cost just 40-cents a day. He took $465 of his own money and zeroed out the delinquent accounts of more than 60-kids.
"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 says 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.