MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — One Carolina Forest parent came together with his community to help students at Carolina Forest Elementary School pay off their lunch debt. 

Tommy Perkins’ son is a third-grader at Carolina Forest Elementary. When Perkins found out that some of his son’s classmates were behind on lunch money and were eating a different lunch than everyone else, he saw it as something he could help out with. 

“If I had a hot lunch, and you just had a sandwich and a bottle of water or a juice, whatever they were given, I guess bullying could start there,” Perkins said. “You know how kids are these days”

It started with his donation of $100, and it quickly took off. Before he knew it, he was at the doorstep of Carolina Forest Elementary School with $2,500. 

“It really took off, and it felt really good,” Perkins said. “I mean, I thought my hundred dollars that I threw in was [great], and other friends that I didn’t expect to throw in money, were like, ‘oh, here’s $50, here’s $100, $200, $250.’”

Perkin’s two other children are in day care.  He wanted to teach them the importance of helping others at a young age even if they don’t yet fully understand their classmates’ situations. He said the lesson here is to do good when you can. 

“If you’re ever able to help, to do good and just be excellent and do what you can,” Perkins said.

Perkins grew up on the Grand Strand. He was a student Horry County Schools, and now his kids are. So, he has a special connection to the community. He said his work is not done. He hopes to continue making a difference locally. 

“I really like the idea of keeping it very, very local,” Perkins said. “It’s one thing to send money to a different state or a different country, but I wanna try to keep the money right here.”