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Fifth grader launches fundraiser to clear off the meal debt of kids in his elementary school

The youngster received more funds than his original goal which successfully paid off all the debt at his school and provided money to reduce meal debt at another high school too.

Fifth grader launches fundraiser to clear off the meal debt of kids in his elementary school
Cover Image Source: YouTube | ABC 7 Chicago

Daken Kramer, a fifth-grader from Missouri's Thomas Ultican Elementary School, was worried about a few things at the end of his school year. A lot of his peers owed money for the meals provided at school and some had no way of paying for them. Kramer knew he had to think of a solution to this problem and the kid even came up with an idea before the school year ended. According to ABC News, the 11-year-old shared a video on social media and sought help from friends, family and strangers to help raise enough funds to clear off the meal debts of the students in his school.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Anastasia Shuraeva
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Anastasia Shuraeva

Kramer was convincing enough to raise more than $7,000 which was double his original goal of $3,500. It not only paid off the debts of fellow elementary kids but also provided nearly $4,000 to reduce meal debt at Blue Springs High School too. “It was my last year. I just wanted to do something kind to say thank you to the school,” the youngster told the news outlet over a telephone interview. Even though 30% of the 15,000 students in the Blue Springs School District of Kansas were eligible for free or cheaper lunches, there were still many students in the district's 20 schools who couldn't afford that.

The Blue Spring School District has a meal debt of over $235,000 as of now. Federal aid provided all the schools in the country with free meals during the pandemic period but that stopped in 2022. Kramer's mom Vanessa came to know that "the pandemic-era program was the only time some students in the district got breakfast." “That kind of stuck with me because I grew up in a food-insecure home,” Vanessa revealed to the outlet. “There were a lot of times that even as a high schooler, I was getting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." The fifth-grader's video was first shared by his mother on her Facebook page on April 12, 2024.


“Daken wanted to do something special as a thank you to his school and has high hopes for this project. I’m so proud of him for wanting to help others,” Vanessa wrote in the caption of the video. "Please consider donating whatever you can. I know the goal amount is a lot, but there are a lot of families who are unable to pay off their debt. I'm making this public so feel free to share this, even if you can't donate at this time." Soon, donations began to pour in from all over the country and Kramer's efforts received extensive media coverage.


During the fifth-grade graduation ceremony on May 21, Kramer's teacher, Kristi Haley, announced to the people in attendance that there would be a special annual award given to kids who would go above and beyond to inspire society. The award will be named after Kramer and will be called the Daken Kramer Legacy Award. “It's your heart, your drive, your determination and your grit to help others that inspire us," Haley said during the ceremony, per the outlet. Kramer on the other hand revealed that it definitely "made him feel special." “I'm trying to teach my kids that if the people who have the power to make a difference won't, it's okay to step up and be that person that will make a difference,” Vanessa added, as a proud mother.


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