Five-Year-Old Paid Off Lunch Balances For Over 1,000 Students By Selling Cocoa And Cookies

by : Emily Brown on : 22 Dec 2019 12:52
Five-Year-Old Paid Off Lunch Balances For Over 1000 Students By Selling Cocoa And CookiesFive-Year-Old Paid Off Lunch Balances For Over 1000 Students By Selling Cocoa And CookiesKiki's Kindness Project/Facebook

A hard-working five-year-old managed to pay off lunch balances owed by over 1,000 students by fundraising and running a stall offering cocoa and cookies. 


Katelynn Hardee, a kindergartener at Breeze Hill Elementary School in Vista, California, decided she wanted to raise money after hearing a parent at the school say she was having difficulty paying for an after school program.

The five-year-old spoke about the issue with her mum Karina, who explained ‘sometimes people aren’t as fortunate,’ and so those who are able should try and ‘be kind and give’ when possible.

You can see how Katelynn helped here:


In an attempt to do her part, Katelynn, who goes by the nickname Kiki, set up a stand on December 8, and spent her Sunday selling hot cocoa, cider, and cookies. Her efforts paid off as she raised $80 (£60), which went towards paying off the negative lunch balances of over 100 students at her own elementary school.

After seeing the success of the first stand, Katelynn and her mum decided to up their goal to pay off the lunch balances of everyone in the entire school district – that’s 1,206 accounts. Karina told CNN that in doing this, her daughter hopes other students can have a snack and lunch to ‘stop their tummies grumbling’.

5-year-old sold cookies to help pay off lunch debts5-year-old sold cookies to help pay off lunch debtsKiki's Kindness Project/Facebook

With the help of her mum, the five-year-old launched ‘#KikisKindnessProject’ and started an online fundraiser with two targets in mind; first to pay off the lunch debts, and then to support school programs which would otherwise be removed due to budget cuts.

Katelynn manned another hot cocoa stand yesterday, December 21, and volunteers offered up cakes and cookies to help raise even more money.

5-year-old sells cookies and cocoa to pay off lunch debts5-year-old sells cookies and cocoa to pay off lunch debtsKiki's Kindness Project/Facebook

After long day of selling, and with the help of the online fundraiser, the team behind Kiki’s Kindness Project raised an incredible $15,000 (£11,500)- enough to pay off all the negative lunch balances.

In a post on the Fundly fundraising page, Karina wrote:


It has been an AMAZING day! We are so very grateful to all who came out today to support #KikisKindnessProject! We have made our second goal and are able to pay off Vista Unified Lunches! On to our next goal!

Sign for Kiki's Kindness Project raising money to pay off school debtsSign for Kiki's Kindness Project raising money to pay off school debtsKiki's Kindness Project/Facebook

In order to support school programs, the team are looking to raise $50,000 (£38,500). It’s a big goal, but Katelynn is off to an incredible start and her determination will go a long way.

Speaking about the project, Karina said:

It’s all about kindness. Especially this holiday season, and with everything that’s going on in the world, we just need a little bit more kindness out there.

If you’d like to donate to Kiki’s Kindness Project you can do so here. The little girl is certainly an inspiration.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, California, Christmas, debt, donation, Fundraising, Vista


Kiki's Kindness Project/Facebook and 2 others
  1. Kiki's Kindness Project/Facebook


  2. CNN

    This 5-year-old paid off the lunch balances for 123 students by selling cocoa and cookies

  3. Fundly