Christian Cordon-Cano recently heard a radio segment about “school lunch shaming” — a practice where some public schools make a spectacle of throwing meals in the trash for kids that have outstanding debts.
The response from most who hear that is “I hope someone does something about that.”
Instead, Cordon-Cano, a 17-year-old King’s Academy senior, said “I’m going to do something about that.”
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, who you are (nor) where you come from, you can still change the world in a positive way,” he said.
The Wellington resident started “School Lunch Fairy,” which has raised more than $12,000 and donated money to six states, including donations in Palm Beach County.
He reached out to his tech savvy friend Bernardo Hasbach, who created the website and the two teens went to work on fund-raising and outreach, eventually securing national media attention to launch their project.
Now, they recently secured a deal with Duffy’s that Cordon-Cano thinks could be worth $10,000 or more. The Duffy’s restaurants will be asking customers if they want to round up their checks for donations to the cause and that money will go to the School Lunch Fairy.
Palm Beach County’s owns deficit came to light this year when the Palm Beach Post reported that more than 10,000 students owed school lunch debt. The total was more than $25,000.
Locals rallied to pay off about $7,000 by April, but the debt remains a problem. Palm Beach County doesn’t practice school lunch shaming, however. Kids who can’t afford lunches are given turkey and cheese sandwiches at no cost.
Cordon-Cano hopes his efforts will help spark other people to start their own fundraisers.
His advice to others? Don’t waste time pondering how you’re going to do it. Just take action.
“I think the biggest issue is that people think a lot and dream a lot but they don’t necessarily do it,” he said. “If you just keep thinking, you’ll never get it done.”
Anyone who wants to donate to Cordon-Cano’s cause can do so at schoollunchfairy.org.