FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Appleton teen serving for a smile, donates tips to area homeless

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Appleton North High School student, Michael Fonkem, has been employed at D’Flavors ice cream parlor for just over a year, and in that short amount of time, he has already made a lasting impact within his community. 

On Tuesday, Wisconsinites enjoying their chilled dessert watched in awe as 16-year-old Michael Fonkem, wrapped up his workday by giving North Carolina native, Tracy Bass, his hard-earned tips. Astonished and taken aback by the kindness shown by the young teen, Bass, who is currently homeless and traveling through the Wisconsin area, shared how grateful he was for people like Michael. 

“It was a blessing and since I’ve been believing in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, I Appreciate that, and am honored. I told him [Michael] God is going to bless you, and he will get blessed,” shared Bass.

D’Flavors employee, Alexandra Ponce, told Local 5 that this wasn’t just a one-time act of kindness, but has been a reoccurring action from Michael. “Michael actually started doing it. After his shift, he’ll give his tips to the homeless in the area.” 

Curious to learn more about the giving teen, Local 5 asked Michael what motivated him to give back to those in need. “A lot of the time, I see homeless people around here and so I started giving them my tips, and when I did, I saw big smiles on their faces. So, I started giving out my tips so that they could have a reason to smile. It’s not much what I give them, I tell them it’s only enough for one or two meals.”

Yet, however, big or small Michael’s contributions may be, there is no doubt they are leaving a lasting impact. Ponce shared that since Michael started donating his tips, other D’Flavors Employees have followed in his footsteps and taken the initiative to pay it forward too.  “When it gets busy and we get a lot of tips we all like to pay it forward and make donations where we can,” said Ponce. 

D’Flavors is located on 2436 W. College Service Road and is open seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit the D’Flavors Facebook page.

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