Philando Campaign Clears School Lunch Debt
School lunch debt increases by thousands in growing Berkeley County School District
CHARLESTON, SC – Berkeley County School District reports a rise in school lunch debt, especially over the last two years. For the 2017-2018 school year, BCSD’s school lunch debt totaled about $230,000. In comparison, about $302,000 has already added up for the current school year. There is still time for parents to pay up on their child’s account before the end of this school year though, so officials are hoping that current total has hit its peak and will decrease. If it doesn’t, it could mean impacts felt by teachers and students next school year.
Not paying a child’s school lunch debt off could also mean trouble for the parents. Officials with the school district say some of this school lunch debt can be attributed to the population growth Berkeley County has seen over the past few years. Fairchild says school lunch debt is occurring more at the high schools in the county. There is no particular school accruing more debt than others, she said. There are also 11 schools in Berkeley County involved in a community eligible program that offers free breakfast and lunch for all students.
Despite those meals being covered, the school lunch debt is still increasing from year to year, and Fairchild hopes parents will pay more attention to how these delinquent accounts can affect the district as a whole. The school district sends letters to parents and does phone calls to let families know they owe.
Pay Down the Durham School Lunch Debt
When we survey our readers about what we should cover more, far and away the most frequently mentioned topic is the Durham Public Schools. She and her friend Amy Dillon both have children at Forest View Elementary, part of the Durham Public Schools system. Proceeds were donated to local organizations buying and packing food to send home with Durham Public School’s students on subsidized lunch programs. The friends say the idea was sparked by a meeting Dillon had attended about how to ensure that kids who receive free and reduced price meals would be fed when the district closed schools on May 16. The team also made a donation to Community Alliance for Public Education to provide supplies for teachers who demonstrated in Raleigh on May 16.
Our support for public education must be steadfast and constant. In this case Dillon and Richardson Fry are on deadline. They have until June 1st to save the Durham Public School system up to $103,000 with your help. Their goal is to pay down the Durham school lunch debt, an effort started by Rebekah Miel on behalf of James Keaten in November 2017. When last checked, the GoFund Me site was $70,000 of its way to the goal of $103,000.
If the school lunch debt is not paid down by June 1, this $103,000 will be taken from the general Durham Public School budget. We encourage you to get behind this worthy cause, Durham.
Seattle parent’s campaign to wipe out student-lunch debt is $80,000 and growing
When Seattle parent Jeff Lew decided to try to wipe out $20,531. 79 in lunch debt accrued by students in Seattle’s 99 public schools, he wasn’t sure he would reach the target. Less than a month later, he’s raised more than double that for Seattle, and started similar GoFundMe campaigns for three other school districts, two of which have met their goals as well. To date, about 700 donors have contributed $45,390 for the Seattle campaign. The Tacoma campaign has generated $22,075, surpassing its $20,000 goal. The campaign for Spokane, which was $1,668, met its goal in two days.
The Renton campaign is about halfway toward its goal of $18,000. The campaigns’ message – no student should be punished for not having enough money to pay for a meal at school – resonated far beyond the Seattle area. Along with a donation of $5,000 from Grammy-winning singer John Legend, who gave to the Seattle campaign, the Seahawks donated $1,000 to the campaign for Renton, where the team’s headquarters is located. Seattle Public Schools hasn’t received its donation yet, but the funds will go toward paying the current debt and then carry over into the next year, said district spokesman Luke Duecy. For Lew, the campaigns came with an unexpected bonus.
The campaigns are still open, and new donations will go toward paying off any future debt, Lew said.
Denver Public Schools turns to parents to prevent lunch debt
DENVER – As Denver Public Schools students head back to class this month, their parents are being asked to do something many have never done. The district’s online scales shows the income for a family of four to qualify for free lunch is $31,980 a year or less. For students in that same family to get a reduced price lunch, the top income is $45,510. Taylor Washington has heard many stories from families about lunch-shaming in Colorado. Washington believes DPS is doing the right thing and said her nonprofit, Hunger Free Colorado , helps.
Washington said a common deterrent is the system itself and that families often do not know how to navigate it. She said that includes applying for SNAP food assistance, which would give their children automatic lunch benefits. Denver7 checked and found Jefferson County Schools ended the last year with about $200,000 in lunch debt. Douglas County Schools said its lunch debt was just over $75,000 for 2017-18. Pena said parents find out within 24-hours when they apply online if they qualify for free or reduced lunch and that there are no lasting consequences from last year’s debt for students or their families.
Hunger Free Colorado has advocates to walk families through the paperwork, policies and applications. Their Food Resource Hotline is statewide, toll free and bi-lingual.