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Sweet boy paid off school's overdue lunch balance

Kind-Hearted Boy Pays It Forward And Pays Off Overdue Lunch Accounts

Cayden Taipalus, 8, came home from Challenger Elementary School feeling really upset after witnessing a friend foregoing a hot lunch because of a negative lunch account balance.

As an alternative, the school provided his friend with just a cheese sandwich. The third grader sat down with his mom and came up with a plan to help. They would collect plastic bottles and cans, collect money from family and friends and solicit donations so that they could pay off all the negative balances for the entire school.

After just one week, Cayden was able to cover about 150 lunches, and with the help of some media attention, Cayden's kindness spurred others to act.

He and his mother have since set up an online campaign to help other students in need and have raised about 15 thousand dollars. They've already paid off two additional schools' negative lunch balances, and they hope to handle three more in the next week.

His mother Amber Melke Peters told TODAY.com, "Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this would happen. He's just a little local boy trying to do some good."

And Cayden isn't the only person who has been paying it forward. In February, a tutor and mentor from an elementary school in Houston, Texas, gave $465 of his own money to pay off his school's negative accounts. He called it the best money he'd ever spent.

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jj2301 March 06 2014 at 1:16 PM

When I was young, all parents below the poverty line had to do was apply and qualify for the subsidized/free school lunch program; their kids got the same meal as everyone else.

Isn't the free lunch program available any more?

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pegtac March 06 2014 at 1:58 PM

Great boy, just think he is the furture of our country . He will made it better just by being in it.

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1 reply
puff13puffpass pegtac March 06 2014 at 2:03 PM

My thoughts exactly. We need more people like this child in our country, then maybe the future will be bright.

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Jenny March 06 2014 at 2:01 PM

Cayden, dont let anyone put you down for your kindness. You have an awesome heart.

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1 reply
tobiashny Jenny March 06 2014 at 2:06 PM

I agree Jenny and Cayden is learning from this expierence that people do matter even at such an early age. Cayden will be a great adult for he has compassion for others who have less then he and he will do all he can to make it better for him.

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tonymorenolcly March 06 2014 at 2:03 PM

What a caring little boy! It reminds me of what someone said long ago:
" I am only one
I cannot do everything
but because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do
the something that I can do."

Helen Keller

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Laura March 06 2014 at 2:03 PM

This story melts my heart and disgusts me at the same time. What a beautiful, caring soul Cayden is for worrying about his classmate and other children who are banned from getting a hot lunch because they have a negative account. But why is this even an issue? Isn't that what welfare and government financial assistance is for? If the families cannot provide a hot lunch for their children why don't they request assistance? Or is it just that they don't care about their kids nutrition and embarrassment and are just useless and are too busy getting their nails done, etc? Is this just neglect or is it financial hardship? And if the school sees that there are negative balances why don't they contact the parents and find out why? No child in this country should have to go hungry. Isn't that what welfare is supposed to take care of?

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3 replies
byzynaby March 06 2014 at 2:05 PM

Stay strong kiddo! I hope my son take your example and be able to do something like this when he gets older. He's 3 now. I read this to him and for a three year old, he actually said, and I am quoting him, "He nice boy! He help others! I want be like him Mommy!" He made me cry a little, because I am working so hard in teaching him to help others and share. You did very good Cayden!

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2 replies
rlcallaway byzynaby March 06 2014 at 2:09 PM

Good for you -- kids learn fast and clearly you are setting a good example. God Bless you and your son.

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chasesea byzynaby March 06 2014 at 2:18 PM

How sweet! I bet he turns out to be a real winner like Cayden!

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laurarvail1 March 06 2014 at 2:15 PM

How anyone could stand by and let a child go hungry (can you imagine, expecting a spaghetti lunch, and having to settle for a slice of Velveeta on two slices of bread?) is beyond me. This doesn't excuse parents who let the balance in the children's accounts drop so low...

However, that being said - if we withheld meals from politicians, who put our country's economic future in a shambles (instead of the children) perhaps we would see something change!

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chasesea March 06 2014 at 2:17 PM

It's nice to see there are kind-hearted kids today. Lots of them are lazy, spoiled, heartless, selfish and arrogant. It's all about them and "what have you done for me lately?"

Kudos to Cayden and his mother and others like them.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Laura March 06 2014 at 2:21 PM

If these children have negative balances in their school lunch account it could possibly be due to neglectful parenting. The schools should step in and investigate whether it's financial hardship or neglect. Either way all children should be afforded the same opportunities to have a hot lunch, but the parents who are so self absorbed and are neglectful should have to pay it back.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
HELLO JIM March 06 2014 at 2:21 PM

Great kid
I worked in a school lunch room in my town serving, and use to slip money to kids that couldn't get a lunch
I had my spies that informed me who they were
I got fired for refusing to wear a hat a couple of years ago because I got headaches

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