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How to Help Erase School Lunch Debt Across the US

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.

group of four young kids smiling
Warwick, RI
The Warwick Public School System has an outstanding balance of $77,000 for unpai...
Last donation 1mo ago
$57,387 raised of $77,000
$57,387 raised
Seattle, WA
Hello everyone! We've already wiped out over $100K in lunch debt as a team throu...
Last donation 2w ago
$52,288 raised of $650,000
$52,288 raised
Washington, DC
The school district for Warwick, Rhode Island announced a new policy in which ...
Last donation 3w ago
$47,921 raised of $100
$47,921 raised
Saint Paul, MN
Lunch debt is a problem that plagues schools across the nation, and our charter ...
Last donation 2mos ago
$13,594 raised of $15,000
$13,594 raised
Austin, TX
I'm Ben, a 14-year-old student in Austin. I recently learned that about 5,000 s...
Last donation 2mos ago
$10,767 raised of $10,000
$10,767 raised
Stow, OH
As of November 2018, nationwide over 73% of school lunches are served to kids wh...
Last donation 3mos ago
$9,275 raised of $9,000
$9,275 raised
Orange, CA
Hello everyone, this is Grandma Pat and I’ve started this GoFundMe campaign to...
Last donation 4w ago
$9,232 raised of $11,000
$9,232 raised
Minneapolis, MN
Student lunch debt has turned from a problem into a crisis. After meeting repres...
Last donation 2mos ago
$7,735 raised of $8,680
$7,735 raised
Columbia, MD
Black Flag Brewing Company is starting our 'Brunch for Lunch' campaign! We want ...
Last donation 6mos ago
$6,539 raised of $15,000
$6,539 raised
Smyrna, DE
Smyrna community members, I wanted to make a donation to pay some of the past d...
Last donation 2mos ago
$5,110 raised of $20,000
$5,110 raised
Tacoma, WA
Our daughter is in 3rd grade at Jefferson Elementary School, and we (the Bishins...
Last donation 2d ago
$4,613 raised of $2,500
$4,613 raised
Mustang, OK
This fundraiser will be an ongoing effort to keep Mustang, Oklahoma school distr...
Last donation 6mos ago
$3,850 raised of $10,000
$3,850 raised
Sulphur, OK
Davis Public Schools have students that have a debt on their lunch bills. Why? ...
Last donation 6mos ago
$3,340 raised of $2,000
$3,340 raised
North Myrtle Beach, SC
To celebrate the acts of giving and kindness in December the elementary school S...
Last donation 8mos ago
$2,565 raised of $4,500
$2,565 raised
San Bruno, CA
Every year around Christmas time, I pay the student lunch debt for the Kindergar...
Last donation 8mos ago
$1,787 raised of $1,392
$1,787 raised
Camden, AR
I found out that when students can not pay for school lunches or are behind on p...
Last donation 2mos ago
$1,720 raised of $2,500
$1,720 raised
Palmer, AK
I've heard a lot of news stories about unpaid lunch debt in America. I decided...
Last donation 2mos ago
$1,608 raised of $700
$1,608 raised
Minneapolis, MN
Philanthropy is caring about the welfare of others. Phil-LUNCH-thropy is helping...
Last donation 4mos ago
$1,535 raised of $10,000
$1,535 raised
Leawood, KS
The Shawnee Mission School District's new lunch policy guarantees all students...
Last donation 6mos ago
$1,461 raised of $28,000
$1,461 raised
Boulder, CO
After seeing a stranger pay off people's layaways at the holiday, I wanted to do...
Last donation 4mos ago
$1,400 raised of $180,000
$1,400 raised
Bennett, CO
For some students in our community, a school lunch could be the only good meal a...
Last donation 6mos ago
$1,350 raised of $3,865
$1,350 raised
Houston, TX
Like many of you, I have seen the stories that go viral of what happens when a s...
Last donation 6d ago
$1,271 raised of $12,000
$1,271 raised
Woodbridge, VA
The Exchange  is a BNI chapter focused on helping our members grow their busine...
Last donation 4mos ago
$1,170 raised of $2,500
$1,170 raised
Providence, RI
The Cranston Public School District recently sent a letter to parents: They've h...
Last donation 2mos ago
$1,154 raised of $4,585
$1,154 raised
Choctaw, OK
We are trying to raise money this holiday season to pay off the negative lunch a...
Last donation 7mos ago
$1,110 raised of $4,873
$1,110 raised
Cary, NC
After every Thanksgiving, there are the shopping days...Black Friday, Small Busi...
Last donation 6mos ago
$1,075 raised of $500
$1,075 raised
West Jordan, UT
I grew up very poor.  My family always had food, but it was a struggle everyday...
Last donation 2mos ago
$1,000 raised of $1,000
$1,000 raised
Eagan, Minnesota
Hello Friends! I have been working as a substitute teacher for the past year in...
Last donation 8mos ago
$1,000 raised of $1,000
$1,000 raised
Lawrence, KS
Born from the anonymous good deed of a fellow Lawrencian, we came ttogether as...
Last donation 2w ago
$990 raised of $3,000
$990 raised
Mesa, AZ
The short story:  My son, Noah, has inspired our family to make sure no student...
Last donation 1w ago
$650 raised of $2,550
$650 raised
Willis, TX
All money will be donated to AR Turner Elementary school which will be applied t...
Last donation 4mos ago
$562 raised of $500
$562 raised
Yukon, OK
Yukon Middle Schools have a debt on their lunch accounts why? we are aiming to ...
Last donation 6mos ago
$550 raised of $500
$550 raised
Denver, CO
I am a teacher. I recently learned that some of my students aren't eating lunch ...
Last donation 4mos ago
$525 raised of $500
$525 raised
Suffolk, VA
UPDATE May 24, 2019: Isle of Wight County public schools has announced that chi...
Last donation 2mos ago
$430 raised of $70,000
$430 raised
Virginia Beach, VA
HealWithMeals: Program Initiatives, Greetings I am a Local Pastor in the Virgin...
Last donation 3mos ago
$400 raised of $100
$400 raised
New London, CT
It's always been a goal of ours to be able to give back in unique ways. I heard ...
Last donation 3w ago
$400 raised of $500
$400 raised
Savage, MN
Lunch debt is a problem that affects schools across the nation and Prior Lake/Sa...
Last donation 4mos ago
$360 raised of $15,000
$360 raised
Las Vegas, NV
We are a student organization at UNLV called CCLAF who fundraise to pay off brea...
Last donation 5mos ago
$360 raised of $40,000
$360 raised
Pardeeville, WI
Hello! My name is Onica and this is my second year doing a GoFundMe for my loca...
Last donation 5mos ago
$300 raised of $500
$300 raised
Kent, OH
After learning about how a Stow-Munroe Falls community group was able to erase s...
Last donation 6mos ago
$300 raised of $10,000
$300 raised
Port Wentworth, GA
Last week, while my daughter was sick, her lunch account was used.  Upon invest...
Last donation 10mos ago
$270 raised of $270
$270 raised
Somerville, OH
For my birthday  this year I am asking for donations to cover the delinquent lu...
Last donation 7mos ago
$260 raised of $250
$260 raised
Lake Mary, FL
My friend posted today that you can call and pay off a kids overdue lunch accoun...
Last donation 11mos ago
$260 raised of $1,000
$260 raised
Overland Park, KS
I have some students who do not "officially" qualify for support for the Free/Re...
Last donation 7mos ago
$255 raised of $500
$255 raised
Midland, TX
We are accepting donations to help our families pay off their child's lunch acco...
Last donation 8mos ago
$230 raised of $2,000
$230 raised
Grand Prairie, TX
Hello everyone, I am Monique and along with Amy and Matthew, This GoFundMe accou...
Last donation 5mos ago
$225 raised of $500,000
$225 raised
Georgetown, TX
We know school lunch debt is squeezing Williamson County families. School meals ...
Last donation 5mos ago
$200 raised of $1,000
$200 raised
Tucson, AZ
Yesterday, I received a group message from Antonio's teacher asking for donation...
Last donation 3mos ago
$200 raised of $200
$200 raised
Lafayette, IN
I am Tommy Banales and I am a latinx senior at Oakland High School in Lafayette,...
Last donation 3mos ago
$195 raised of $350
$195 raised
Fairfield, OH
If you want to give local, give to an elementary school lunch account.  Central...
Last donation 11mos ago
$195 raised of $1,000
$195 raised
Chapmansboro, TN
I am raising money for students who have unpaid balances on their lunch account ...
Last donation 11mos ago
$182 raised of $5,000
$182 raised
Saint Paul, MN
Each year, we host a Matt-Fest event and donate the proceeds to a local charitab...
Last donation 3mos ago
$175 raised of $500
$175 raised
Westland, MI
A little one in my family brought up today how he has been packing 2 lunches for...
Last donation 10mos ago
$150 raised of $1,000
$150 raised
Greenwood, IN
Help me feed the kids of central Indiana. I'm sure all of you have seen or heard...
Last donation 6mos ago
$145 raised of $2,000
$145 raised
Victoria, TX
Student lunch debt is a serious problem in many school districts. When students ...
Last donation 7mos ago
$135 raised of $5,000
$135 raised
Casper, WY
$ 14,292.99. That is the amount owed on overdue lunch accounts in the Natrona Co...
Last donation 8mos ago
$120 raised of $15,000
$120 raised
Clinton, MD
Youth Empowered 2 Succeed (Y.E.S), is an organization created to help our youth ...
Last donation 1mo ago
$105 raised of $3,000
$105 raised
Tucson, AZ
I recently read an article talking about how behind some families get and how th...
Last donation 5mos ago
$100 raised of $1,000
$100 raised
Round Rock, TX
My 11yr old daughter Maya started this go fund me account to raise money to dona...
Last donation 1mo ago
$90 raised of $10,000
$90 raised
Eden Prairie, MN
We need your help! Gassen Company Property Management located in Eden Prairie ...
Last donation 5mos ago
$65 raised of $5,000
$65 raised
Delray Beach, FL
Hello my name is Alfonso owner of Florida City Entertainment, we are a Independe...
Last donation 4mos ago
$50 raised of $100,000
$50 raised
Lithonia, GA
As I was having lunch with my son there was a child there watching me while I at...
Last donation 11mos ago
$35 raised of $1,000
$35 raised
Bellflower, CA
Hello , I am a Public School Special Education Nurse. i know first hand that not...
Last donation 7mos ago
$20 raised of $10,000
$20 raised
Everett, WA
Over the past two years, the GoFundMe community has come together to raise more ...
Last donation 6mos ago
$5 raised of $8,000
$5 raised
Sedley, VA
Hungry for a Good Book I am a principal of a PreK-5 school in rural Tidewater of...
Last donation 2mos ago
$0 raised of $10,000
$0 raised