9-year-old pays off lunch debt for his entire third grade class

ByLisa Amin Gulezian via WABC logo
Sunday, June 9, 2019
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A 9-year-old boy is making a difference for his peers in Napa.

NAPA, Calif. -- A 9-year-old boy is making a difference for his peers in Napa, California.

Cooking and mealtime are important parts of the Kirkpatrick family's day. So when Ryan had a conversation with his mom about kids who couldn't afford school lunches, he decided to do something about it.

He asked his mom to find out how much fellow third-graders at West Park Elementary School owed.

Kylie Kirkpatrick said, "It was I think $74.50. So I took that email and came to Ryan and said, 'What do you want to do,' and he said, 'I guess I can pay for it.' I said, 'are you sure?' And he said, 'yes.'"

He used his allowance money, which he would normally use to buy sports gear, and gave it all to the school.

Depending on income levels, elementary school meals range in price from 30 cents to $3.25 each.

Still district policy says, "Students with a negative lunch account will still receive a hot meal."

At the time, Ryan paid for it anonymously.

He said, "I want them to realize people actually think about them because you're not just bragging about stuff. I want them to feel happy someone cares about them."

UPDATE: With help from Ryan, Governor Newsom signed a bill banning "lunch shaming." Take a look at the full story here.