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A 7-year-old from Maryland is living proof that you’re never too young to make an impact in the lives of others. According to NBC News, second grader EmauniJ Manley raised funds for students at her school who couldn’t afford lunch.

The student lunch debt crisis has impacted youth throughout the country, including students at Manley’s school. She decided to take action after noticing that some of her classmates were going hungry during lunch due to unpaid meal debt. “I saw some kids just eating a cheese sandwich,” Manley told the news outlet. “I was like, ‘I need to do a fundraiser so I can get more money for kids.”

With the help of her mother Rosalynd Manley, who is a part of the school’s faculty, the youngster launched a Facebook fundraising campaign to address the issue. “I need your help. I have witnessed a few students in school having to eat cheese sandwiches because they have unpaid balances on their lunch accounts, having to witness this made me really sad,” she posted on the fundraiser’s page. “I wanted to create a fundraiser so that people in the community could help us to pay off the balances of as many students in the school as we can.” EmauniJ received an outpour of support and surpassed her goal of $800. Through her fundraiser, she was able to not only help the students at her school, but she eliminated the lunch debt for students at other schools in the DMV area as well.

Her school’s principal Ben Harrington says it is amazing to see leadership skills within someone so young. “It’s really cool to see a student who’s 7 taking the initiative to impact other students at the school.”

Many people are stepping up to tackle the student lunch debt crisis. In November, NFL player Richard Sherman donated $27,000 to eliminate student lunch debt at the Santa Clara, California-based Cabrillo Middle School.


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