Cayden Taipalus is the 8-year-old sweetheart we all hope for our kids to be.
The fourth grader from Michigan was taken aback at lunch one day when one of his friends in the lunch line had a hot lunch taken away and replaced with a cheese sandwich. The child had insufficient funds in his account.
Cayden’s mother, Amber, said when he got home from school that day, he was rattled by the situation in the lunchroom. He asked his mom how he could help his friends and make sure it would never happen again.
Together, Cayden and his mother created a fundraising page called “Pay it Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry.” Cayden then went to work recruiting donations from friends, family and neighbors to raise money and pay off the debts for his friends’ lunches.
He didn’t stop there.
Cayden even went as far as going around and collecting items for recycling so that he could raise some money of his own to donate.
After raising enough money to pay off his friends’ lunch debts, Cayden requested that the lunch ladies would use the remaining donations for kids who can’t afford lunch. He wanted to be sure they would never have to worry about getting a hot lunch again.
And after just two weeks of taking donations, he was able to pay for 295 lunches.
Since kickstarting the fundraiser, Cayden has raised more than $41,000!! He’s used the donations to go far beyond his own school, and pay off delinquent lunch accounts at other schools in his area. The “Pay it Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry” initiative has served more than 24,000 lunches to kids of all ages in Howell, Michigan.
Something that started off as a small initiative to help a friend turned into an incredible story of one 8-year-old’s HUGE heart, and hundreds of happy bellies.