While there certainly have been news of large conglomerates donating sums of money to help students out of lunch debts, Keoni Ching is just a child who decided to help out his classmates. This kid from Washington makes and sells key chains at $5 a piece, and has collected close to $4000 dollars which would help eliminate the burden of lunch debt of not just his school, but 6 others as well.
The idea came to Keoni when he was planning to work on something for ‘Kindness Week’ at his school- Benjamin Franklin Elementary. All he wanted was to do something that would highlight the basic element of kindness. And he was helped by his parents, April and Barry.
It was ultimately the NFL team San Francisco 49ers that instilled in him the idea to do something for his school. The cornerback for the 49ers Richard Sherman had given away close to $27000 to help recover the lunch debts of many students at his old school. But the desire to design key chains came from a love of the material. Keoni loves key chains, for he mentioned how they adorn his bag.
As the word went out, Keoni started receiving requests from people all over the country for a key chain. His mother told CNN that his key chains have been sent to Alaska, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and other such states. Some simply wanted to buy a key chain to pay quite a large sum of money because they wanted to help someone in need. A few people wanted key chains worth $100. If someone were to still claim that humanity was dead, maybe Keoni could teach them a lesson or two.
In the end, Keoni sold at least 300 key chains.
The check of $4015 was provided to the school the previous week. Of that amount, a thousand dollars was to be allotted to Benjamin Franklin Elementary, while five hundred dollars would be provided to each of the 6 schools, to take care of their own debts.
Woody Howard, the principal expressed his gratitude at Keoni’s offering. He also mentioned that while the price of lunch was very low if people kept missing out- the amount got large over time.
Lunch debts in American schools are a major problem that needs to be taken care of. According to the latest reports of 2017-18, around 75% of the school districts had severely increasing lunch debts. There was a rise of 70% since 2012-13.
There have been a lot of stories surfacing where students have been shamed for not being able to pay off their lunch bills. A kid from Ohio couldn’t eat his lunch because it was taken away. The resounding outrage led to many states passing bills that prohibited snatching food from a child’s plate in the event of a lunch debt.
Keoni doesn’t really know about the intricacies of American politics. All he knows is that helping someone is possibly the best thing one can do towards humanity. And that’s what matters.
Images: April Ching