automatic News for 06-01-2019

Philando Castile fundraiser clears all student lunch debt in St. Paul

Warwick schools deny donation from business owner to pay off school lunch debt

In March 2018, the owner of Gel’s Kitchen Angelica Penta started a money jar to help students who struggle to afford lunch. She said West Warwick Public Schools accepted a check of $4,000 from her which will be applied at the end of the year, but Warwick Public Schools would not accept her donation. Penta said she met with Warwick school officials twice to discuss alternative uses for the money that were related to the same cause, but they wouldn’t budge. Warwick schools said the policy in place right now is that if a student cannot afford lunch, a sunbutter and jelly sandwich will be given as a lunch choice until the balance is paid in full or a payment plan is set up. Warwick Public Schools said officials suggested Penta create a program which would decide which students were eligible to have their account reduced or expunged, but Penta did not like that idea. 

Penta said in her post that she plans to expand her donation program to other cities and towns in Rhode Island, but right now she is working with West Warwick and Warwick only since that is where the donation jars are located. She said in the meantime, anyone who needs help affording lunch in Warwick should contact her. A GoFundMe page was created to raise money to pay off the school lunch debt. 

Keywords: [“WARWICK”,”lunch”,”school”]

Company pays off thousands of dollars of school lunch debt

SALT LAKE CITY – Many Salt Lake families will have a brighter Christmas, thanks to a local company that paid off outstanding lunch debts to the Salt Lake City School District. Walker Edison Furniture cut a check for exactly $10,201. 79 and gave it to the school district to pay off the debts for all of the schools in the district. The Salt Lake City School District says many families are blessed by the gift from the local furniture company. Brad Bonham, CEO of Walker Edison Furniture, says that charity is a core part of their foundation. Bonham says their employees came up with a list of thirteen things to do this year, and easing the Christmastime burdens of some young families was one of them. 

James Yapias with the Salt Lake Education Foundation says many families who don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch still have a hard time paying the bills and the debt accrued. Yapias says the school district did not tell the company the names of the families but did tell them the amount owed and the company was glad to cover the eight schools that had outstanding balances. Walker Edison Furniture is also donating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, sponsoring Angel Tree, and singing at an assisted living center. 

Keywords: [“School”,”SALT”,”LAKE”]

School lunch debt policies hard to swallow

After years of battles over the nutritional value of school lunches, there’s a new policy fight cooking in the nation’s school cafeterias. In some cases, administrators stamp students’ arms with lunch money reminders, give them alternative lunches or even withhold meals. New Mexico recently passed a law aimed at stopping the practice, and a handful of other states – New York, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas – are now considering legislation. There’s no federal requirement on how schools must handle students who owe lunch money. The Obama administration’s Agriculture Department last year said school districts must have a policy on how they handle such situations and communicate those policies to parents. 

School districts have until July 1 to comply with that directive. A USDA spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO in an email that the Trump administration plans to keep that deadline. Jessica Bartholow, policy advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, one of the groups that co-sponsored the California bill, said they have been pushing the USDA to address the issue of national lunch debt policy for years and that the deadline is not enough. 

Keywords: [“policy”,”school”,”lunch”]

Ending the Shame: Erasing School Lunch Debt for Good

In his talk, Jeffery discusses his work eradicating student lunch debt, and why lunch debt and lunch debt repercussions don’t work. He proposes solutions, backed up by the success of his own efforts, as to how we can abolish student lunch shaming. Jeffery Lew was born and raised in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in marketing. As a proud graduate of Seattle Public Schools and a father of three, the problem of school lunch debt and lunch shaming hit close to home for him. Jeff could not fathom students being shamed or going hungry for having lunch debt at their school cafeteria, a situation that children have no control over. 

In 2017, Jeff began a movement to end lunch shaming and find a permanent solution to the problem. He has raised over $100,000 to date and is now aiming to pay off the lunch debt for every district in the state. Still, not everyone is aware of school lunch debt and the shaming that stems from it. Jeff is on a mission to raise awareness and find a way to end this practice once and for all. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. 

Keywords: [“lunch”,”debt”,”school”]

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