Michigan boy collects donations to help others buy lunch

Cayden Taipalus
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A Michigan third-grader is proving that it doesn't matter how old you are or how much money you have, just about anyone can make a difference.

Cayden Taipalus saw a classmate's hot lunch taken away because his school lunch account was in the red and he decided to step in.

"I was in line getting lunch and a kid in front of me had to put down his tray because he didn't have enough money on his account, and that made me sad. So I went home that night and asked my mom what I could do to help," Taipalus said.

"He'd come home and said, 'What can I do? Can I give him some of my lunch money? Or what can I do?' So we started brainstorming," said Cayden's mother, Amber Peters.

They decided to collect money so that Cayden could pay off delinquent lunch accounts in hopes that every student could get a hot lunch.

"Cayden actually started collecting bottles and cans around the house and went to the neighbor's house, and friends and family," Peters said.

Cayden called his campaign, "Pay It Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry." The story spread on social media and just a few dollars grew into so much more.

"The goal was $50. Now I have up to $20,000," Cayden said.

More than 600 donors, some from as far away as Taiwan, have donated enough to pay for 50,000 lunches, not only in Cayden's school district in Howell, Michigan, but in districts across neighboring counties, as well.

Cayden doesn't know who he's helping, just that he's helping.

"That's what makes this so great is Cayden doesn't know any of the students that have actually benefited from him paying them off. He has done it just from the goodness of his heart and didn't want any recognition, or any of the students to know," said Challenger Elementary Principal David Cherry.

Cayden's good heart is now providing hot lunch help to thousands of kids.

"If you want to be a hero, a small thing can turn out to be a big thing," Cayden said.

No Kid Goes Hungry website