The 8-year-old made custom keychains to pay off his school’s lunch debt
Kids are 100 times better than adults and the future is looking extremely bright. Case in point? Eight-year-old Keoni Ching from Vancouver, Washington. The compassionate kiddo raised over $4,000 to pay off his school’s lunch debt all by making and selling keychains.
Ching wanted to do something different for the “Kindness Week” at his school, Benjamin Franklin Elementary, so he decided to go all out with the goal of paying off their entire lunch debt — and helped several other schools along the way.
Ching, with the help of his parents, was inspired by San Francisco 49ers player Richard Sherman who donated more than $27,000 to cover students’ lunch debt. He landed on keychains because, “I love key chains. They look good on my backpack,” CNN reported. You can’t argue with the budding entrepreneur’s logic.
Word of Ching’s project soon spread and people from all over the country sent in their requests for custom keychains. “We have sent keychains to Alaska, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Arizona, all over the country,” his mom, April Ching, said. “There was one lady who said she wanted $100 worth of key chains so that she could just hand them out to people. … There were several people who bought one key chain and gave (Keoni) a hundred bucks. It was absolutely amazing how much support the community showed for his whole project.”
School lunch debts have made headlines frequently over the last year. One Minnesota school hit national news when they were seen throwing away hot lunches in front of kids who were carrying a lunch debt. Another school told students they couldn’t attend prom if they didn’t pay off their lunch debts. Still another school threatened parents with putting their child in foster care if their cafeteria debt wasn’t paid. No student should be shamed or held back from school activities over a school lunch — ever.
Eventually, Ching made and sold more than 300 keychains with a little help from his family and was able to hand over the $4,015 check to Franklin Elementary last week. Of that amount, $1,000 will go to the school to pay off the $500 lunch debt and for any future debt that may occur. The rest went to six nearby schools in the amount of $500 each to clear their own debts.
“Lunches here are about $2. But if you have two or three kids and for whatever reason, you’ve missed (paying for) a week of lunch or breakfasts, that adds up pretty quickly,” Franklin Elementary’s Principal Woody Howard said. “This type of a gift takes a little bit of pressure off of your family.”