Second Grader Raises Money for Classmates Who Can't Afford School Lunch

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A second grader in Charles County, Maryland, concerned about her classmates who can't afford school lunch started raising money on Facebook Thursday to help them. She’s already passed her $800 goal.

When EmauniJ Manley was 5 years old, she wrote a book about having a positive self-image after a run in with a few mean kids. Her book is available on Amazon.

Now at 7, she has a new mission that started in her school's cafeteria.

“I saw some kids just eating a cheese sandwich,” EmauniJ said.

“I explained to her, you know, sometimes kids don't put money on their account or they don't have money to put on their lunch account so they have to eat different food,” said her mother, Rosalynd Manley.

“So I was like, ‘I need to do a fundraiser so I can get more money for kids,” EmauniJ said.

She and her mom, who also works at her school, started the Facebook fundraiser.

“It's really cool to see a student who's 7 taking the initiative to impact other students at the school,” Principal Ben Harrington said.

He said out of 500 students, about 100 receive alternative lunches, though the system does its best to keep that from happening.

“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.”

Even though EmauniJ has already exceed her fundraising goal, she's going to continue raising money for her classmates and their school lunches.

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