By Sriya Reddy
Twelve-year-old Christian Williams and 10-year-old Vincent McNuckles want to bring healthy snacks to their school.
They don’t enjoy their school lunches and have watched their classmates bring in sugary snacks for breakfast regularly. After being inspired by TikTok, the two cousins knew what they needed to do – start their own vending machine company.
That’s how TK Snacks and More was born. The name is inspired by the boy’s favorite snacks, T for Takis and K for Kit Kats. Contrary to its name, the goal of TK Snacks is to change the culture of snacking at their school, St. Anthony Academy in South Dallas.
“We could help people and not hurt them,” McNuckles said. “Because there are a lot of unhealthy snack choices in South Dallas.”
“It’s important for your body to eat healthier options because you could get diabetes or you can have health problems,” Williams said.
The vending machines will sell trail mix, SkinnyPop and granola bars among other snacks.
So far, TK Snacks has two potential clients. The MLK Wellness Complex opening late this summer and St. Anthony, which the boys are forming a pitch and proposal for the board in June.
St. Anthony’s Principal Onjaleke Brown and Assistant Principal Brian Wesley described Williams and McNuckles as dreamers and as students that are always asking why.
“They’re persistent and I think that’s going to take them a long way in life,” Brown said.
Both administrators are excited by the possibility of bringing new options to their students.
“We want to make sure that our children have access to be able to make the healthier choice,” Brown said. “If we’re saying that non-fried chips, such as popcorn, are really good then they need to be able to have access to it.”
Wesley said a lot of students don’t have access to good snacks. Often, they are only able to pick up breakfast at the local gas station on their way to school. This vending machine could help solve that problem.
“Yeah, they’re gonna make money, but the thing is, they’re solving the problem with a healthy choice that they lack here,” Wesley said.
Williams and McNuckles see this often. They say some of their friends bring up to six bags of packaged chips to school every day. They could only name one of their friends that eat healthy snacks, like apples and oranges, at school.
For the two boys, they love their occasional fast food stop, typically Raising Cane’s or Chick-fil-A, but also really enjoy vegetables – celery, asparagus, broccoli.
On top of encouraging classmates to choose healthier options, the boys are also learning a lot about entrepreneurship and starting a business. They are creating pitches, designing logos, and organizing finances, all with the help of McNuckles’ mom and Williams’ aunt Shay McNuckles who steers them in the right direction.
McNuckles said once they start making profits, they will invest the money into stocks. And soon after, they want to become the richest kids on Roblox. Williams said he will also invest, but also get himself a phone, computer, and a new bike.
Brown said it is important for students to learn about various ways to earn a living.
“Showing our children these various options as next steps and things that they can do, like they can own their own business, is a part of our obligation as educators,” Brown said. “If we just try to limit them to what we think or the routes that we took, then we’re not doing a good job of teaching.”
Wesley, an entrepreneur himself, said he’s proud of the two for starting a new business and solving a problem in the southern sector.
“I was very proud of them because they know I’m also a business owner as well,” Wesley said. “For them to take that initiative at that young of an age and then their mother to pour into them and invest into them to be able to do it.”