Dad Raises Over $40,000 To Stop Seattle Schools From Publicly Shaming Students With Lunch Debt

A father living in Seattle, Washington, was disturbed by local schools who were shaming poor students for being unable to pay off their “lunch debts.”

Over 75% of school districts in America have students with lunch debt. Despite the increased growth of free and reduced lunch programs, there are still students whose families can’t pay for their lunch at school. Their families simply do not have enough income.
Typically, a school gives a student lunch (even though they can’t afford it) but a “lunch debt” is accumulated. This debt is then sent out as an invoice to the student’s family. However, school districts are growing more and more in frustration at the inability for many families to pay off their accumulated lunch debt. As a result, they have resorted to publicly shaming those students who have an active “lunch debt” balance.

They shame these students in front of all their peers at lunch time, effectively singling them out and dubbing them with a Scarlet Letter of sorts.

A Seattle resident and a local public school graduate named Jeffrey Lew was unsettled by this news. When he read a CNN article on lunch debt and schools shaming students, his heart broke.
Lew tells NBC News,
“Reading that article was really awful. It broke my heart because I was thinking if that was my son at school, and they forced him to clean tables or toss food away, I’d be a very angry parent. No kid should be shamed regardless of if they have money to buy lunch.”
Lew was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to erase all of Seattle’s school lunch debt. The total lunch debt in Seattle was $20,531.79.
This target was met within five days. The campaign quickly gained traction in the Seattle area. On top of that, notable corporations and celebrities donated to the cause, including the Safeway Foundation and singer-songwriter John Legend.
After surpassing the original goal, Lew increased the goal to $50,000.

So far, the campaign has raised over $40,000.

Source: GoFundMe
According to Lew, any additional money will be used to pay future school lunch debt at Seattle Public Schools. He also has launched campaigns to erase school debt in neighboring areas.
You can support Lew’s campaigns by visiting these GoFundMe pages, Seattle School Lunch DebtTacoma School Lunch Debt, and Renton School Lunch Debt.

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