Emauni Jeanise Manley is no ordinary kid.
The 2nd grader was a published author at the age of 5 (“What Do I Look Like?”, a book available on Amazon), and now, she’s helping pay for the lunches of her fellow classmates who couldn’t afford them.
“I saw some kids just eating a cheese sandwich,” Emauni told NBC.
Her mother, Rosalynd Manley, explained to Emauni that sometimes, kids don’t have enough money for their lunch accounts. So they end up eating different food than the rest of their classmates.
With the help of her mother, who also works at the school, Emauni started a Facebook fundraiser to help pay for the lunches of her classmates.
On the fundraiser page, Emauni wrote: “Hello World, It’s me….Emauni J!
I need your help. I have witnessed a few students in school having to eat cheese sandwiches because they have unpaid balances on their lunch accounts, having to witness this made me really sad. I spoke to my parents and my manager and told them how I wanted to help. I told them I wanted to create a fundraiser so that people in the community could help us to pay off the balances of as many students in the school as we can.PLEASE HELP ME. No amount is too small. My goal is to have all donations by January 31 so that all of the students can start off fresh on February 3rd. All donations collected for this fundraiser will go directly to the unpaid lunch accounts of my classmates.”
Their initial goal was to raise just $800, but after a week, the pair raised over $4,000.
According to Principal Ben Harrington, out of 500 students, about 100 receive alternative lunches. “Elementary school students have a $25 deficit,” Harrington said. “They can go $25 before they get the alternative meal. Once you get into that deficit, sometimes it’s difficult to come back.”
Although Emauni has exceeded her initial goals, she hopes to continue to raise money to pay for the lunches of her classmates.