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pay it forward

This eight-year-old raised over €13k to help pay for his classmates' school lunches

The young boy launched an online campaign to make sure everyone got a hot lunch.

IF YOU THINK the youth of today only care about themselves then allow us to introduce you to Cayden Taipalus.

The eight-year-old elementary school student has raised over $18,000 (about €13,000) in an on-line Fundrazr campaign to help cover the cost of his classmates’ school lunches.

The campaign’s official page reveals that Cayden – who is a student at Challenger Elementary School in Howell, Michigan – decided to raise the cash after he witnessed a child being denied a hot lunch at school.

The student in question didn’t have enough money left in their lunch account to cover the cost of the meal, and was given a cheese sandwich instead.

Cayden’s mother, Amber Melke-Peters wrote:

This upset the child along with my son. He came home and wanted to know how he could help kids out. We came up with Pay It Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry. Cayden called family, friends, neighbors and even took back cans to raise money to pay off low income kids deliquent lunch accounts at school. He not only paid off the acccounts but added money to them so the child had no future worries about lunches.

They set a target of $20,000, which they’ve almost reached with 22 days still to go.

An update posted on the funding page yesterday revealed that the cash was already being used to help cover costs:

Thanks to everyone’s very generous donations Cayden was able to pay for 4,000 reduced lunches this morning.

The Pay It Forward campaign has been an unprecedented success. Fundrazr Fundrazr

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this would happen,” Melke-Peters told “He’s just a little local boy trying to do some good.”

The Howell Public School District – which is responsible for the provision of the lunches – told that it was rare for a student to be refused a hot lunch.

“Like a lot of districts, we use accounts where parents add money to their students’ accounts,” public relations director Tom Gould said. He stated that no student would ever be allowed go hungry because they didn’t have money on their account.

However, he praised the young boy’s campaign, saying:

Cayden’s efforts are very generous and we’re proud of him for that.

Who wouldn’t be? Fair play to him.

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