Over the last few years, the GoFundMe community has come together to raise nearly $750,000 from more than 200 campaigns in an effort to erase school lunch debt. With more than $150,000 raised in 2019 alone, community members across the U.S. continue to raise funds on GoFundMe to help pay off the accounts of children whose families couldn’t afford them. Some of these children would experience “lunch shaming” when in debt, where they’d be given cold food or even made to wear bracelets that would set them apart from other students.
The movement to eliminate lunch debt began with Seattle father Jeff Lew in 2017, who raised more than $50,000 to eliminate the lunch debt in the Seattle school district, and raised an additional $50,000 for the entire state of Washington. Since then, Jeff has inspired people across the country to start lunch debt GoFundMe campaigns in their own communities, from a 6-year-old girl in Idaho to an 85-year-old grandmother in California.
The public continues to take action to wipe out lunch debt all across the country, most recently after the Warwick Public School District, announced that students with an outstanding lunch balance would not be served the same hot meals offered to their classmates. The community quickly responded, donating over $100,000 in 48 hours, enough to wipe out all Warwick’s lunch debt.
Whether they have been inspired by a leader like Jeff Lew or simply frustrated after news reports about lunch debt, people all across the country are turning to GoFundMe to solve a problem in their community.
There’s still more work to be done. See the campaigns below to find a GoFundMe in your neighborhood, or start your own.