And a little child shall lead them
EBy Gary S. Hatrick
girl puzzled her paren
would provide a generous stipend
for her lunch account at
school, but she would spend it
far more quickly than her little
tummy or sweet tooth could
down and asked her to give
an account for the money pit
her lunch account had become. The answer
changed their lives and the lives of
thousands resulting in the founding of the
Thomas Promise Foundation.
Brooke Thomas, they learned, was
providing food for friends at Centennial
Elementary School in Dade City whom
she saw were still hungry at lunchtime.
“I just wanted to help my friends,”
Brooke recalled. “Everybody got a lunch,
but you also could get a snack or you
could get a drink, and that is what those kids couldn’t afford.
I felt bad for all the things that they didn’t have.”
around did not have the means to have what they had. For
Brooke, however, the solution was simple. After all, she had
plenty in her lunch account.
Her mother and father were unaware of what was going
on until they got a notice from the school that Brooke’s account
was depleted and needed to have more funds added
Talking to Brooke prompted her parents, Wade and Dianna
Thomas of Dade City, to research the situation and they
found that throughout Pasco County, many children do not
have access to nutritious meals due to homelessness or poverty.
This was especially true over the weekend, when there
were no breakfast or lunch programs available at school. Following
their daughter’s lead, they also knew they had to help.
Wade Thomas gathered a board of like-minded business
people and founded the Thomas Promise Foundation on the
premise that no child should ever go hungry.
Today, The Thomas
Promise Foundation provides
bags full of food
complete with six meals
and snacks for Pasco
County students over
the weekend when they
would otherwise go without.
co schools and over 1,100
program every week of
the school year and when
school is not in session,
the students are vetted
by the school’s ABC Program
which gave the
that the students they
were helping were genuinely
The foundation has not missed one
weekend of deliveries.
in need. The foundation has not missed one weekend of
deliveries since its inception.
Although its primary mission is to provide food for kids
over the weekend, The Thomas Promise Foundation also as-
school requests, for kids that otherwise would not be able to
ues its mission over the summer by providing food for a local
summer feeding program run by the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge.
In the early years, Dianna Thomas headed up the day-today
planning and packing. Brooke would spend time after
school helping pack bags. “I was glad we were going to help
people.” Brooke said, but she didn’t really understand the full
Above and top right: Brooke Thomas has been honored over the
years through news stories and awards honoring her part in the
founding of The Thomas Promise Foundation.
18 • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018 813.682.9364 FLORIDA WOMEN MAGAZINE