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DENVER — Parents are starting to get ready for the new school year, but some Denver students are way ahead of them, preparing to help other kids in need.

The KidsGiving365 organization is hoping to generate enough donations to pay off the school lunch debt of children who will face the new school year without a hot lunch.  Click here to help.

The idea is to inspire groups along the front range to start campaigns to raise funds to pay off school lunch debt.

While many school districts provide an alternative lunch to those with debt from the year before, like a cheese sandwich or snack, some children are ashamed to take the tell-tale meals.

They fear being bullied because their parents can’t afford to pay for a hot lunch.

Eight-year-old KidsGiving365 member Lillie Sheppard says that breaks her heart and she wants to help.

“Being teased because you don’t have money doesn’t seem like the right thing to do so you should always be kind, if you have money left over you should give some to them so they feel better about their lunch.”

Lillie’s mother, Tracie said, “The most basic need is our ability to feed our kids, and as a mom if you can’t do that, I can’t imagine what it would be like.”

Lillie is also working on other projects. She’s been working hard to collect shoes for kids who come from families that can’t afford the basics, as well as putting together snack and amenity bags for the homeless.

10-year-old Jack Mandeville got a chance to deliver gifts to a child in need during the holidays. “He started crying and I did too because it was such a good memory and I knew that I should do this every year,  someone`s heart can change someone`s life.”

The organization has already raised $1,250 toward their goal of $11,000 to pay off school lunch debt.

KidsGiving365 also sponsors an awards program to show recognition for children who help others.

To nominate your child for the first Junior Philanthropist Award email a summary of his or her achievements along with their photo to

The award will be presented during a gala this fall.