Faith in humanity: Michigan boy pays off students’ lunch bills

Mar 13, 2014, 6:13 PM | Updated: 6:13 pm

When 8-year-old Cayden Taipalus saw a friend handed a cheese sandwich instead of a hot meal because he had an outstanding lunch account balance, he know he had to do something.

According to, Cayden talked to his mom, Amber Melke-Peters, and the pair came up with an idea to make sure everyone at his school would get a hot meal.

Cayden and his mom came up with a plan to pay off the overdue lunch accounts at his school by returning empty bottles and cans and soliciting donations from friends, family and neighbors. Last Monday, he handed over the fruits of his labor: $64, which paid for around 150 lunches.

But Cayden did more than feed a few kids. He created a movement. A Howell, Mich. radio station ran the story and, before Cayden knew it, donations started pouring in.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this would happen,” Melke-Peters told “He’s just a little local boy trying to do some good.”

Cayden and his mom started a fundraising site to raise more money, despite already surpassing the $10,000 mark. They plan to add money to students’ accounts so they don’t go in the red and make donations at other schools.

Pamela Hughes

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Faith in humanity: Michigan boy pays off students’ lunch bills