This Dad Is On a Mission to Pay Off School Lunch Debt
Jeffery Lew has had enough of lunch-shaming.
After reading several news articles about schools denying lunches to students who owe money for food, Lew decided to do something. His first move was to pay off the full lunch debt of his childrens’ school, which came to $97.10. Not content, Lew launched a GoFundMe page.
He used the page to explain why the campaign holds personal meaning to him.
“As a parent and graduate of the Seattle Public Schools, I am trying to help ease the burden of these families and make sure these children get to eat a nutritious meal each day at school,” Lew wrote on GoFundMe. “I used to look forward to school lunches each day. I am sure these children feel the same!”
As his next step, Jeffery Lew contacted Seattle Public Schools and discovered that the total lunch debt for all 90 schools was a whopping $20,531.79.
Despite the high amount, Lew got out into the community, posting links to the GoFundMe on various parent groups and Facebook pages. He also took his cause to the media, giving an interview to CBS News where he made his case:
“If a kid doesn’t have enough money or owes money they may not end up getting a complete meal. Kids can be cruel and make fun of them. That can be really harsh on a child. They don’t have a concept of what money is. No kid should go hungry because they don’t have any money. They should eat the same food their classmates are eating and not get shamed for that.”
The campaign was a near-immediate success, raising $500 on the first day, and $3,000 over the course of the weekend. By May 17, the GoFundMe had raised $24,598 — easily surpassing the Seattle school district goal.
“The recent parent-organized campaign to pay down school lunch debt for Seattle Public Schools reflects the generosity of our families and communities,” the school district wrote in a statement. “As a district, we are committed to partnering with families and communities to provide students the best educational experience. Part of that experience is making sure all of our students have access to a healthy breakfast and lunch, whether they have money to pay for meals at the time or not.”
After helping so many students pay for their food, Jeffery Lew is not done.
“I want to keep this cause spreading, give back any way we can. Maybe we can cover the state of Washington or help other parents create campaigns for their school districts — bring this nationwide,” he told CBS.
Your Daily Dish has reached out to Jeffery Lew for a comment.