A man who received attention earlier this month for donating enough money to pay off all of the overdue lunch fees at an elementary school in Iowa is hoping his kind act will spark a chain reaction of goodness.
The inspirational story started when a man named Jerry Fenton randomly decided to donate the money to cover late lunch dues for 89 students at his alma mater, Grimes Elementary School in Burlington, Iowa.
Fenton said he was inspired by a story he read online about a woman who paid for her son’s friend to have lunch after learning his dad has lost his job. So, feeling like he, too, wanted to do good, Fenton doled out $700 — enough to cover the $458.63 outstanding balance as well as additional future fees students would incur, WQAD-TV reported.
The kind act quickly went viral and was picked up by numerous national and local outlets, leaving Fenton to post a follow-up Facebook post expressing his surprise over the swift reaction.
“The attention to the story is overwhelming for me as I’m really not (used) to this kind of attention. I’ve even had some very nice people come up to me at the department stores and ask my name and thank me for the donation,” Fenton wrote in an Oct. 27 post. “I never thought that this was something so special. We all should be helping each other every day.”
He continued, “It’s not all about money, doing little things like raking leaves or mowing grass for the elderly or running errands for the handicapped can be very helpful. Trust me, I didn’t do this for the attention I did it because I wanted to help.”
In earlier interviews, Fenton — a motel owner — expressed his dismay over the fact that kids today are still going hungry, and said he simply wanted to do something that would help alleviate the problem.
While Fenton personally isn’t wealthy, he said he has some money in the bank and wanted to do something to give back.
“It struck me as something nice to do. I didn’t do it for any reason other than for myself,” Fenton told the Des Moines Register earlier this month. “I don’t want to tell people what to do … but it’s always nice when people do nice things.”
Fenton originally shared his good deed on his Facebook page on Oct. 18, explaining how he went to the Burlington Community School District that day and paid for the overdue lunch accounts. In that post, he expressed pride over his decision to help the 89 students effected, and concluded with a call to action for those reading the post.
“Now it’s your turn to do something good for your fellow man,” he wrote.
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