Kindergartener Pays Off Lunch Balances For 100+ Students

December 13th, 2019


A kindergarten student at Breeze Hill Elementary School was recently honored for her work to raise funds that have gone to pay off negative lunch balances for 123 students. The act of compassion was spurred on by a simple response to the idea of food scarcity: “I don’t want people to be hungry.” 


Katelynn Hardee, the kindergarten student, overheard a student’s mother saying that she was having a hard time paying for an after school program. Says Katelynn’s mother, Karina Hardee, “her inquisitive mind started asking me questions. Trying not to put too much on a 5 year old, I explained some aren’t as fortunate as us and it is kind to give when we can.”


After exploring ways to help, Katelynn’s mom reminded her daughter about a lemonade stand they’d done during the summer. “She asked if we could do a hot cocoa and cookies stand,” explains Karina. “I said ‘let’s do it’, and all proceeds would go to charity (I didn’t know at that point if we could donate to the lunch program).”


As word of Katelynn’s generosity grew, sales at the stand grew, ballooning to the amount that would pay off balances for over 100 student accounts.


“Because of her generosity, 123 students in the Vista Unified School District had their account balances paid off,” says Jamie Phillips, Director of Child Nutrition Services for Vista Unified School District.” “It is truly inspiring to see Katelynn’s compassion and generous nature utilized to help those less fortunate.  Students like Katelynn embody the mission and values of Vista Unified School District.”


Breeze Hill Elementary School Principal Lori Higley and Cafeteria Lead Teresa Sharp presented an award to Katelynn at the school to honor her generosity and kindness.


*** UPDATE: Katelynn’s story has continued to grow and reach more people, and we’re thrilled to share those stories.


San Diego Union-Tribune




The Vista Press