It’s not just Kasey King’s little girl graduating from her elementary class today at the Joseph R. Pye Elementary School in Ladson – it’s a recognition ceremony for her dad who was inspired to donate $8,000 earlier this month to the school to help out their food program. He says he feels great making this contribution.
“I felt awesome like I was on a high for weeks.”
King, 38, has been in business as the owner of two local businesses – Charleston Corporate Housing, a temporary housing company which provides furnished apartments and homes for people relocating to the greater Charleston area, and as a wedding officiant for two years. He says he has been praying for some time as to what he should do with his life. In those two years, he has married over 185 couples and that, with the Charleston Corporate Housing, he has 16 furnished apartments and homes which are rented out currently.
Some see a wedding officiant as a religious figure but Kasey says he is “not a super religious guy” and that he’s “just an entrepreneur. My wife volunteered me to officiate her best friend’s wedding a few years ago, and 185+ weddings later, here we are.” The donation came about from a lot of soul searching and spiritual journeys.
“About a month ago, I was trying to figure out what I should do and I got on my knees to pray,” King said.
Then he heard a voice. “A voice inside my head said, ‘Give!’ I closed my eyes and, again, the same voice said, ‘Give!” King said his wife has said in jest to him that this was probably not “God’s voice”—“it was probably Dave Ramsey’s voice!” (Ramsey is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who focuses a lot on finances and how one should ‘live like no one else, so later, you get to live AND GIVE like no one else’).
On Apr. 30th, Kasey checked his email online and he had received one from the principal at Pye Elementary whose note to parents said there was an unpaid balance of $8k on the school lunches and that the school never turns away any food from any student.
He saw it as a sign and, within a few days—on May 3rd—he got out his checkbooks. From his Charleston Corporate Housing, he wrote a check to the school for $6k and from the Kasey King, Wedding Officiant business, he wrote a check for $2k. King lives near the school. He then jumped on his bicycle and brought the 2 checks over in an envelope and dropped it off to the front desk for the principal.
Within 2 hours, the school’s principal, Wanda Williams, called him. She said this has never happened to her before.
“I was really moved by his generosity. It reminded me of how wonderful the families of our school community are – we serve a very strong community. My staff and I were literally in tears,” Williams said.
Williams said King’s generous donation helped to offset her need to tap into those discretionary funds used for things like instructional supplies, teacher training, or for a scholarship to a child to attend after school programming and so forth. She said 40% of her school kids receive food assistance for free or reduced meals which allows them to obtain Title I funding from the state. The school ends up paying about $10k at the end of the school year towards food costs.
After that, she sent out a newsletter to the community—“Principally Speaking”—to create awareness on what the school’s café balances were and how to donate to the school. The result? Other families kicked in donations to take care of the remaining $100 balance after King’s $8k donation.
King says he just wanted to give to something that would be put to good use. He says the wheels started to turn in his head ever since Christmastime when one of his corporate housing clients came to Charleston and played Santa for one of the schools and then gave some money to the schools.
“Ever since I saw him do that, I thought it would be neat to do something special like that. I plan on doing it again because it made me feel really good.” He says all of us can do little things to help each other out.
It’s not the first time King has been generous, either. In his 20’s, he successfully competed in several “Tough Man” contests and said he prayed to God that if He let him win, he would give 10% to a church – and he did, several times.
“Whenever you’re able to do something big or small, it just makes you feel better about others and myself. Giving is not necessarily about money --you can donate your time, your clothes, food, or your money.”