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8-Year Old Sees Poor Classmates Can’t Afford Lunch - So He Starts a Business to Pay Off Their Debts
Everyday Heroes

8-Year Old Sees Poor Classmates Can’t Afford Lunch - So He Starts a Business to Pay Off Their Debts

With Keychain Kindness, Keoni Ching addressed a glaring issue at school, and the effects of his kindness have rippled far beyond those walls.

More than 10 percent of American households face food insecurity on a daily basis. This means that families often don’t know where their next meal will come from. For one young boy, the knowledge that many of his classmates were facing this uncertainty inspired him to make a difference. 

Keoni Got a Glimpse of How It Feels to Be Less Fortunate

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8-year-old Keoni Ching had a brief look into what his less fortunate classmates go through one day when his school lunch balance dipped so low he was almost out of money. He felt what it would be like not to be able to afford lunch for one single day, and the idea devastated him.

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What hit him even harder was the knowledge that many of his classmates lived that reality every single day. Keoni’s mother immediately refilled his school lunch account, but the experience had already inspired him to make a lasting change. 

Keoni and His Mother April Worked Together to Form Keychain Kindness

Keoni had heard his parents talking about Richard Sherman, an NFL player who donated $27,000 to clear American students' lunch debt. Keoni thought he could do something similar, although on a smaller scale– so he went to work.

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Keoni and his mother April started making custom keychains. They named their project after the annual Kindness Week at Keoni’s school: Keychain Kindness. Keoni’s family worked with him to make and sell over 300 keychains! That, along with donations – including one for $1000– helped Keoni raise over $4000 to pay back school lunches. 

Keoni Gives His School an Amazing Gift

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Keoni presented the principal of his school with a $4,015 cheque during Kindness Week. $1000 of his donation went to his own school, and the balance was distributed to six schools in the area, paying as many lunch debts as possible. Even though there is still around $140,000 of school lunch debt in the district, Keoni’s donation moved the needle in the right direction.

According to the principal of his school: "I think the lesson here from Keoni is that when you see a need and then you go and address the need, people notice."

Even if nobody had noticed or showered praise onto Keoni for his kind acts, he would still have felt fulfilled and happy knowing that he had helped at least one person rest easier because they knew they could pay for lunch the next day. The power of positivity is within; it's not about outward validation.


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