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Why We Give Back to Local Schools

Aug 08, 2018

Groups of people holding up large paper checks

Recently, we shared a blog post about an initiative our wonderful team took to pay off the school lunch debt at four local public schools. This was just the first wave of an effort we plan to continue. In fact, just last month, we paid off lunch debt at five more local schools:

Eisenhower Jr HighVista ElementaryRedwood ElementaryAcademy Park ElementaryGourley Elementary

The truth is, we don’t do this for publicity. However, the reason we are sharing this initiative with you is the same reason we wanted to get involved in the first place. It’s because school lunch debt is an all-too-common issue that very few people know about.

An article from CNN Money called school lunch debt “America’s hidden debt crisis” because it is so rarely talked about. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge problem, especially for the families dealing with this issue. According to the School Nutrition Association, 76% of school districts in this country have kids with school lunch debt. Unfortunately, the debt doesn’t just get wiped out or forgiven after a semester or even the end of the school year. Schools are often left to pay that debt, and it’s usually more than they can afford.

Some school districts have tried to deal with the issue of school lunch debt by providing students with an alternate lunch option once their debt reaches a certain amount. However, in some cases, the lunch the students receive is sparse and not as nutritional as the one other students receive. This makes it hard for kids to have the energy needed to do their best in school. It also makes them feel singled out.

By paying off the school lunch debt at our local schools, we are helping to give area families a fresh start and relieve a financial burden the school often gets left with at the end of the year.

“It was a great experience to see how much the people at the schools appreciated the lunch debt payoff. Seeing the principal at Vista get emotional once she understood that all these kids would have a clean slate was very special to us. And knowing that all these families would have these weights lifted was very touching to our family, as well.” – Adrian Madrid, Engineer at Acima