'Angel' Kenny Thompson just made the day of over 60 children at Valley Oaks Elementary School. Thompson, who has spent 10 years tutoring and mentoring the school children recently heard a news story the week before about several Utah students whose lunches were taken and thrown away because their accounts were delinquent. That did it for him.
"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," said Thompson.
In Houston, TX where Valley Oaks Elementary School is, Thompson investigated the situation. He found that several of the children were already on reduced lunch plans which means that their parents weren't even able to afford a meal at $0.40 cents a day. And the kids whose parents hadn't paid were stuck eating cold cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly.
"It was horrifying, it broke my heart," said Thompson, "These are elementary kids. They're not bankers, and not responsible for the financial issues in the household."
So on Feb. 5. 2014, he took $465.00 of his money and cleared the balance. Instead of cold cheese sandwiches, the kids were able to receive nice hot, full trays of food.
"I zeroed out every negative balance in this school," said Thompson.
"These are elementary school kids. They don't need to be worried about finances," Thompson told Idolina Peralez of Houston's KPRC. "They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling."
But Thompson's no millionaire. His wife who's a teacher at Valley Oaks was very encouraging, but also left him know that if he gave the generous gift, then he wouldn't be able to get a new pair of Doc Marten boots he'd been wanting for work.
"My work boots are still good," he laughed.
Imagine the joy of those kids who, if only for a little while, got to feel like all the other kids, provide for like all the other kids in their classes.
Thompson told Peralez that he knows of kids with negative accounts who, for the sake of embarrassment, avoid the lunch line altogether. In short, they starve so their fellow classmates don't know they're starving.
There was also concern expressed that the children's balances would just start inching back towards delinquency, but Thompson is checked back to make sure that, at least for that week, all of those students didn't have to worry about where their next hot lunch meal would come from.
Thompson believes that what he's done has made a difference in the lives of those students. "When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn't have that stress," it was "the best money I ever spent. I went to my car and screamed."
See the video at ClicktoHouston.com.