Charles County, MD — When EmauniJ Manley, a 7-year old girl, noticed that some of her classmates couldn’t afford school lunch, she immediately thought of a way to help them. She then created an online fundraiser, and hundreds of people helped her surpass her goal.
“I saw some kids just eating a cheese sandwich,” EmauniJ told NBC.
When she learned from her mother that other kids don’t have money to put on their lunch account, she decided that “I need to do a fundraiser so I can get more money for kids,” she added.
EmauniJ and her mother, who also works at her school, started the fundraiser on Facebook to raise money to pay the unpaid lunch accounts of as many students as possible.
The initial goal of the fundraiser was $800, but a week after it was started, it has already reached more than $4,300.
Principal Ben Harrington praised EmauniJ for her efforts. He said, “It’s really cool to see a student who’s 7 taking the initiative to impact other students at the school.”
According to Harrington, out of 500 students, about 100 receive alternative lunches, even though the school system is doing its best to avoid it.
“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.”
Moreover, EmauniJ, who also became a published author of a book about having a positive self-image at the age of 5, is hoping she could raise more money to help her classmates in need.