School lunch debt is becoming a major problem for communities throughout the U.S. Some school districts have accumulated literally millions of dollars of school lunch debt.
This debt puts a huge strain on the schools. But it puts an even bigger strain on the kids who aren’t getting adequate lunches because their families can’t pay.
One Florida man was appalled by the problem of school lunch debt in his town, so he came up with his own solution – he paid off the school lunch debt for the entire town!
‘Children Shouldn’t Have To Learn Hungry’
Who is this selfless superhero? Andrew Levy is a real estate agent who does a lot of business in Jupiter, Florida – the town where he paid off the entire accumulated school lunch debt. Though Levy is relatively new to the Jupiter area and doesn’t have kids in school, he knew he had to do something to solve the problem.
Levy read a report in a local paper that detailed how many students were unable to get their full hot lunch at school because of unpaid school lunch debt. In Jupiter, the number was over 400. Levy said that he was shocked that so many kids weren’t receiving the proper nutrition at school simply because their parents couldn’t afford to pay.
In an interview with CBS Miami, Levy was quoted as saying “Food is something that you shouldn’t have to think about. Children shouldn’t have to learn hungry.” He went on to say that he thought it was “crazy” that children who couldn’t afford school lunch would be given nothing but a cheese sandwich.
In a bold and generous move, Levy contacted the school district for the town of Jupiter and said he would pay off the school lunch debt for every school in town. He paid $944.34 to eradicate the school lunch debt at nine different schools.
Inspiring Others To Step Up
Levy’s involvement in solving the school lunch debt problem in Southern Florida isn’t over after his selfless gesture. He says that he wants to attack the problem on an ongoing basis.
Levy stated that he intends to set up a GoFundMe or another fundraising page to raise money for continually paying off school lunch debt in Jupiter. He plans to set up these fundraisers every quarter so that the school lunch debt will always be paid off. His goal is that no student in the Jupiter area will need to go without a full lunch and no family will have to worry that they can’t pay.
And Levy isn’t alone in this crusade. When he posted about the quarterly fundraising initiative on his Facebook page, over 200 people commented that they would help him organize it or contribute money.
It seems that Levy’s awesome act of kindness has inspired others to tackle this serious problem head on.
The Bigger Problem Of School Lunch Debt
While Levy’s campaign to pay off school lunch debt in Jupiter is amazing and inspiring, it’s only putting a small dent in the monumental problem of school lunch debt.
Palm Beach County, where Jupiter is located, is still dealing with more than $51,000 in school lunch debt. And that’s on the lower end of total school lunch debt. In large, metropolitan districts’ total school lunch debt can surpass a million dollars.
The damage caused by school lunch debt goes beyond the dollars too. Kids often don’t know that their school lunch debt isn’t paid until they try to get their lunch, which can result in a very embarrassing situation.
Students have shared stories of having their lunch thrown or being given literally a cheese sandwich because their lunch debt wasn’t paid. Some students have even shared that the lunchroom staff made a scene of denying them lunch, which creates a lot of shame for the students.
As Levy said, no kid should have to go through that just to get their lunch. Hopefully others all over the country will take a cue from Levy’s kindness.
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