There is no such thing as a small act of kindness.

More than 13 million children faced hunger in 2022, and according to the USDA, one in every five children doesn’t know where they will get their next meal. It’s a big problem that can be easy to ignore when it doesn’t directly impact us.

But when one retired man heard just how close to home the problem was, he decided to do something about it.

A Disturbing Discovery

two men and a woman

An 84-year-old man named Don Douglas raised his children and his grandchildren in Mesquite, Nevada. There, he and his wife of 50 years saw those kids go to the same elementary school, Florence Elementary. However, after Douglas’ grandkids grew up and his wife passed away, he found a new connection to the school.

It all started one day when he read a report that said nearly all of the 580 children at the school couldn’t afford to eat lunch. Some ate for free, while others were able to string together the $0.40 per meal. Many kids couldn’t even afford that small amount of money, though.

“It kinda upset me a little. Or maybe a lot,” Douglas told an ABC News outlet.

Douglas is legally blind and read the report with the help of a projector — the same device he uses to read his daily newspaper. After he was done, he went straight to the school and asked to see the principal.

Putting Retirement Money to Good Use

According to the principal, Ladonna Gulley, Douglas was quite concerned that the kids weren’t getting enough to eat.

“He went into his billfold, pulled out $100, and said, ‘I’m giving you this money, and this is to make sure that every single student in your building has the opportunity to eat,’” she recalled, adding that Douglas has been donating monthly ever since.

Douglas’ donations don’t come from impressive life savings or wealth. In fact, the man doesn’t have much and uses his retirement money to help those kids. He himself lives off social security for the most part. He says it’s worth it if it means kids can have a nourishing meal.

When people began recognizing Douglas for his donations, he didn’t want the extra attention. But then he reconsidered, knowing that it might inspire others to donate to the school or to hungry kids in their own communities. It worked, and people did donate. Eventually, the city honored Douglas with his own day.

“It’s not about me, it’s about our kids,” Douglas told Star Local Media. “I haven’t given up anything, and I’m not asking anyone to give up anything, but if you want to help, you have the opportunity.”

Paying It Forward

A man named Steve Harris, who works for a company called Seeboost, heard about Douglas’ generosity and he too wanted to help by gifting Douglas a device to help him see more clearly. The first thing Douglas wanted to see was the kids, of course.

Florence Elementary was happy to have him, and the staff arranged a visit in which Douglas got to sit down and read to the kids.

“You’re a beautiful bunch of kids,” he said. “When I think about the future, I’m not worried because I know you kids are gonna have a great future for all of us. And I thank you for letting me read to you.”

Every Action Matters

Douglas and his actions are a great example of the idea that when it comes to helping others, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Although the amount of money Douglas had to give was small, it was a big give for him, and it made a great difference in the lives of those children.

His kindness inspires all of us to do what we can to ensure that people within our own communities are also comfortable and taken care of. That can mean grabbing a few extra cans to donate to the food bank the next time you’re grocery shopping. It can mean volunteering your time at a shelter or donating old clothes. Or it could mean donating a small sum, based on what you’re able to afford.

Whatever act of kindness this story may inspire you to take, remember that small things can make a big difference in someone else’s life. Just the act of caring enough to do what you can to help others in need is a monumental thing on its own.