Lunch debt disaster: Hot meals tossed
Florida real estate agent pays off lunch debt for nine schools
A real estate agent donated nearly $1,000 to pay off the school lunch debt of 430 students in Jupiter, Fla., earning praise from the local community. Rew Levy’s $944.34 gift wiped out the debt for all nine schools in the city, which is part of the Palm Beach County school district. Palm Beach school district spokeswoman Julie Houston Trieste confirmed the donation to The Washington Post. She noted that while students were still served lunch and other free meals even if they had outstanding lunch balances, donations could still help families unable to pay. This isn’t the first time a member of the community has stepped up to pay off lunch debt.
According to Trieste, an anonymous donor paid $5,000 earlier this year. The school district’s website provides instructions for how individuals can donate funds to reduce student lunch debt. Last year, $21,000 in donations helped 4,000 students pay off their lunch debts, according to the district. Trieste said while Levy’s act of kindness had not set off a wave of donations, she said individuals had expressed interest in starting GoFundMe accounts or had reached out to the school district to find out how they could contribute funds of their own. Levy told local media that the October donation would not be his last.
How to Pay Off Bay Area Kids’ Student Lunch Debt
One little tweet last December went viral and set off random acts of kindness nationwide. Raised more than $100,000 in donations for kids’ lunches. Reached out to the San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts to see how interested donors can help make sure Bay Area kids aren’t denied lunch for past-due accounts. The districts will not make public the names of kids with overdue lunch accounts, for obvious privacy reasons. They will accept general donations that go directly to paying off past-due accounts, and the past-due accounts really are a problem.
San Francisco Unified School District has an online donation page. For Oakland schools, you can donate by sending a check to OUSD Nutrition Services to the address 900 High Street, Oakland, CA 94601. Both unified school districts currently serve kids lunches, even if the students can’t pay. That arrangement may not be able to last with reduced eligibility looming and the threat of steep cuts from the Trump administration. So your donation can still make sure that kids aren’t faced with the threat of going hungry during the school day.
‘Christmas gift’ pays off school lunch debt for hundreds of Hawaii students
HONOLULU, Hawaii – A Makakilo family presented a check for $358.22 to Kapolei Middle on Wednesday that cleared the school’s balance for unpaid lunch debt. It erased the tab for families who for whatever reason owed the school lunch money. Her daughters, Ashley and Alexis, came up with the idea to pay unpaid lunch bills at schools in Kapolei where they go to school. Their GoFundMe campaign raised more than $3,600 toward a $10,000 goal and paid the bill at four schools. The Hawaii Department of Education’s meal program follows USDA rules and regulations that prohibit the department from using money from the School Food Services Branch to pay for uncollected debt.
The negative balance in the Leeward District is $18,000 and it’s $102,000 statewide. Donations and special accounts chip away at the bill and schools try to collect from families who have fallen behind. More than 60 people have contributed to the Sergio’s GoFundMe campaign that’s paid the lunch debt for 350 families. Her kids love presenting the checks to principals and being bearers of good news.
QUAKERTOWN, Pennsylvania – The Quakertown School District is putting parents on notice – pay school lunch debt or face the consequences. Under the new policy, students who don’t pay lunch debt or any other fines could be prevented from participating in field trips, dances and even graduation ceremonies. If the debt is more than $1,000, the debt will be sent to collections under the parents or guardians name. They say it puts a target on students and is unfair. Under the new rules, parents will be given written notice about the debt and then will have a meeting with the school principal.
Families will then have 30 days to pay off the money owed. If it’s not paid, then students could be stripped of extra curricular activities. The school district says the problem is not with families who are considered low income, but with those considered above the poverty level and likely can pay, but for some reason, don’t. The district plans to meet next week to discuss how to implant the new policy.
Florida man saw a list of his town’s school lunch debt. So he paid the whole thing
She asked the Palm Beach county school board for her district’s stats. To spread awareness, she shared the list of nine schools’ outstanding lunch debt of $944.34. Weeks later, the list made its way to Jupiter real estate agent Andrew Levy. Levy decided he wanted to do something about the list, and paid the balance for all 400 kids in full. He knew that the kids in debt would go without eating or simply get a cheese sandwich.
Sharing his small spark of kindness started a fire with those who found out about his personal initiative. Over 200 people offered to help on his Facebook alone. With their help, Levy can start to not only tackle the lunch debt of Jupiter but the greater debt of Palm Beach County. A spokeswoman for the district told CNN that the total school lunch debt was around $50,000 for over 180,000 enrolled students.