This 5-Year-Old Paid Off Students’ Lunch Debt with a Hot Cocoa Stand

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Kindergartener Katelynn Hardee at Breeze Hill Elementary School in Vista, California paid off her classmates’ lunch debt by selling hot cocoa and cookies.

Five-year-old Katelynn overheard a parent discussing the financial difficulty of paying for an after-school program and her curiosity was piqued. As Katelynn’s mom, Karina Hardee, explained to CNN, “She started asking me a lot of questions and I just tried to explain to her that sometimes people aren’t as fortunate and that we need to try to be kind and give when we can.”

photo: Courtesy of Kiki Kindness Project

On Dec. 8, Katelynn set up a stand in her front yard selling cookies, hot chocolate and cider. Her stand made a total of $80 which she donated to her school to pay off the lunch debt of over 100 students. “Everybody is just so proud and happy and other students are already talking about ways they can also make a difference,” said Breeze Hill Principal Lori Higley. “It goes to show that even one small, kind act from a 5-year-old can mean the difference for someone in their life.”

Now Katelynn has a new mission. She wants to wipe out the lunch debt of every student in her school district. This weekend on Dec. 21 she is hosting another stand to raise more funds.

The family also created a Facebook page dubbed KikiKindnessProject to continue her cause. After she reaches her goal of paying off lunch debt, Katelynn plans to use funds raised to help pay for school programs in danger of being cut.

“It’s all about kindness. Especially this holiday season, and with everything that’s going on in the world, we just need a little bit more kindness out there,” Hardee told CNN.

—Shahrzad Warkentin



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