HOUSTON — A volunteer at a Houston-area elementary school who noticed some students were getting a smaller lunch of cold cheese sandwiches is digging into his own pocket to cover $465 in delinquent meal accounts so all the kids can get the same full lunch tray.
“These are elementary school kids,” Kenny Thompson, a tutor and mentor at Valley Oaks Elementary in Houston’s Spring Branch School District, told Houston television station KPRC. “They don’t need to be worried about finances. They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling.”
Thompson, a volunteer for 10 years, said he asked about the lunch differences at his school after hearing about some Utah students who last week had meals taken from them because of non-payment. Salt Lake City school officials have apologized for removing the lunches and embarrassing the students, and say they are revising procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Thompson told the TV station that he asked about the smaller meals at his school and learned more than 60 children were on reduced lunches because parents couldn’t afford the 40-cent daily fee.
“These are elementary school kids. They don’t need to be worried about finances,” said Thompson. “They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling.”
He believes some of the students avoided the lunch line altogether to avoid embarrassment, meaning they weren’t getting proper daily nutrition.
“When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn’t have that stress … the best money I ever spent,” Thompson said.