5-Year-Old Pays Off Negative Lunch Balances At School By Selling Cookies & Cocoa

Karina Hardee / Facebook

5-year-old Katelynn Hardee is only a kindergartener, but she has a huge heart.

She attends Breeze Hill Elementary School in Vista, California, where she learned that many students at her school have a negative lunch money balance.

Wanting to do something to help, Katelynn – who also goes by Kiki – set up a stand in her front yard and sold hot cocoa and cookies to help raise money to help pay off those negative balances.


She told the San Diego Union Tribune that she wants to make sure her fellow students “can have a snack and lunch” because “if they don’t, their tummies grumble.”

Hot cider, hot cocoa, and cookies each went for $2 a pop, and after just one day, Katelynn raised $78, which turned out to be enough to settle the balances for 123 students.

If you thought she’d stop there, you’d be wrong.

Thanks to the success of the stand – and the media attention surrounding it – Kiki and her mom, with some help from Breeze Hill Elementary, have started something they call “Kiki’s Kindness Project.” They have set an initial goal to pay off all of Breeze Hill’s negative lunch balances, which is a total of $616.85.

Their next goal is to pay off the negative lunch balances for all of Vista Unified School District, which comes to $6,391. Once they hit that mark, they want to continue to raise money to help fund programs that are being cut due to budget cuts.

They have a Fundly page where you can make donations here, and in their latest update, they revealed that they raised enough for all of Breeze Hill Elementary’s lunch balances to be paid off! 

There is already another date set for Katelynn’s hot cocoa stand. This time, it will be at her elementary school on Saturday, December 21. Starbucks and Albertsons have even signed on as sponsors. They will be paying off more lunch balances in no time!


What an incredible thing this little girl is doing! We can’t wait to hear all the updates.