Florida Man Pays Off School Lunch Debt In Jupiter
Local school districts struggling to keep up with unpaid school lunch debt
VANCOUVER, WA – Local school districts are struggling to keep up with growing mountains of debt from unpaid school lunches. Going into this school year, the Evergreen Public Schools district had accrued a debt load of $76,000. Jennifer Misfeldt, the district’s Director of Nutrition Services, said staff has been working to communicate with parents through phone calls and emails, but haven’t had much luck getting responses. The debt is a tricky issue for the district, because it has actively been trying to shield students from being shamed when asking for a meal. The district made that policy change a couple years ago. The Washington legislature passed a law barring districts from communicating outstanding debt with students. As for Evergreen, more than $60,000 of the $76,000 debt is from students that don’t qualify for free and reduced school lunches. The district has had offers from the community to help. Norman Newkirk and his wife, who own Island Family Dental, have donated $10,000 each of the past two years to help Evergreen pay down some of the debt. “We live in this community. We work in this community. And we’re a part of this community.” Even with donations like theirs, the district’s debt continues to grow. According to the district, parents who owe less than $10 account for 70 percent of the outstanding lunch debt.
THE STORY:I was recently inspired by friend and former colleague Jeff Lew and his campaign to end Seattle Public School district’s school lunch debt. Many children depend on a nutritious lunch to help them through their school day. Per the 2015-16 report by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State, 39.1% of Everett School District students are on free or reduced-price meals. This is based on parents filling out meal applications. If a child is unable to pay for their meal, a debt has started. Families will receive an invoice from the school district to pay the debt. MORE INFO:As of June 1st 2017, the total school lunch debt at my child’s school is $300. The total school lunch debt for the entire Everett School District is about $5,674 My first goal is pay off the school lunch debt at my child’s school. The second goal is to help pay off the school lunch debt for the entire Everett School District. WHY THIS CAMPAIGN IS PERSONAL:As a parent and graduate of the public schools, I am trying to help ease the burden of these families and make sure these children get to eat a nutritious meal each day at school. If you are unable to donate, please help share this great campaign! Thank you for your kindness and generosity!
Still at it: ‘School Lunch Debt Dad’ hands Renton SD $14k check
The Seattle dad who raised money to pay off school lunch debt around the state has helped raise thousands of dollars for another local school district. Jeffery Lew posted on Twitter Monday that he presented a check for $14,406. 03 to the Renton School District’s superintendent to help pay off some of their school lunch debt. Lew had set up a GoFundMe account for the school district in 2017. A district spokesperson told KIRO 7 the money will pay for “About half of the outstanding lunch balances.” Exact numbers were not immediately available. Lew has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars to clear student lunch debt. In 2017, Lew helped raise more than $21,000 to erase all lunch debt for Seattle Public Schools. Lew also helped raise money for lunch debt in Tacoma and Spokane schools. “I won’t stop until we find that permanent solution,” said Jeffery Lew in an interview with KIRO 7. Washington state law now bans “Lunch shaming.” KIRO 7 has spoken with school districts that said the law has led to an increase in school lunch debt. “Banning lunch shaming is good progress but it’s not an ideal solution,” said Lew. Lew advocates for school districts to serve meals at no cost to students to end lunch debt and shaming.
School won’t let CEO pay off student lunch debt
A Pennsylvania school district sent a letter to parents saying unpaid lunch debts could lead to children being put in foster care. According to WNEP, the Pennsylvania district says about 1,000 parents owe the school district $22,000 for unpaid lunches. The school district rejected the charitable offer made by Todd Carmichael, CEO and co-founder of La Colombe Coffee in Philadelphia. Carmichael told WPVI in Philadelphia that he wants to help out the school kids because he received lunch assistance as a kid. The school district says it sent the letter to one thousand homes. Joseph Muth, director of Federal Programs for the school district, signed the letter. The school district previously confirmed the letter was real, and not a hoax. Child welfare authorities denies school district’s threat. The school district says it has other plans to get the money from the parents. The AP reports that school district officials have said may file a district court complaint or place liens on properties. A New Jersey school district also created an unpopular plan for dealing with lunch debt. The New Jersey school district also said no to the business owner.