Erase Seattle School Lunch Debt!

$50,092 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 753 people in 19 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
 Share on Facebook
Jeff Lew
on behalf of Seattle School District
 SEATTLE, WA
THE STORY:
Many children depend on a nutritious lunch to help them through their school day. Per the 2015-16 report by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State, 36% of Seattle Public School District students are on free or reduced-price meals (Report). This is based on parents filling out meal applications. If a child is unable to pay for their meal, a debt has started. Families will receive an invoice from the school district to pay the debt. 

RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE:
Lately you may have read in the media about "lunch shaming."

CNNhttp://money.cnn.com/2017/05/09/news/economy/school-lunch-shaming-debt-crisis/

Seattle Timeshttp://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/children-shamed-so-parents-will-pay-the-school-lunch-bill/

It is an awful thing and it should not be happening. Children need to eat regardless if they have money or not.

MORE INFO:
As of May 9, 2017, the total school lunch debt at my child's school is $97.10. My first goal is to have that paid off. The second goal is to help pay off the school lunch debt for the entire Seattle Public Schools district.

I am waiting to hear back from a Seattle Public Schools official with the total school lunch debt for the school district. I will update this page once I hear back from them. In the meantime, I am getting this started so we can help the children get the nutritious
meals that they need the most!

***Update (5/9/17 1:45pm)*** Seattle Public Schools total lunch debt is $20,531.79.

WHY THIS CAMPAIGN IS PERSONAL:
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.  I used to look forward to school lunches each day. I am sure these children feel the same!

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Please donate if you can. If you are unable to donate, please help share this great campaign! Thank you for your kindness and generosity!
+ Read More
Because of your kindheartedness, backed by your generous donations to my campaigns, many Washington State students and their families will soon be free of lunch debt. 3 districts have been paid off already and we're getting close on the remaining 2 campaigns! This is truly something to celebrate!

Now, it's time to go big... really big. I'd like to take this opportunity to share a newly launched campaign with you. Our dream is to erase the lunch debt in the entire state of Washington! Together, I know we can help kids focus on education rather than lunch money and bring hope to the students of Washington State.

Please visit the new campaign here to support and share: https://www.gofundme.com/erase-washington-school-lunch-debt

Let's do this!
+ Read More
***IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! PLEASE READ!***

First off, thank you so much for your contribution! Your generosity has helped to pay off all the student lunch debt in the Seattle school district. Together, we haven't just eliminated lunch debt, we have helped reduce lunch shaming and added hope the life of a child (and their family). We are so proud of what our community has come together to do!

On Friday August 25th, from 7-9:00pm, Christina Medawar (Acting Principal Flute, Houston Grand Opera) is hosting "A Night of Music for LunchDebt.org" to celebrate the accomplishments of our community, in addition to launching a statewide campaign to eliminate all lunch debt in the state of Washington. The night will include check presentations to the Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane school districts, as well as chamber music by Christina Medawar and members of the Seattle Symphony.

www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3062202

We would be honored to have you in attendance! Please visit the link below and let us know if you have any questions (info@lunchdebt.org).

Thank you!
Jeff Lew & Stephen Medawar
+ Read More
WOW! Seattle Public Schools District lunch debt campaign just hit $50,000! All of you are truly amazing! Thank you so much for the continued support for this great cause.

Stay tuned for more information regarding the check presentation. Have a great day everyone!
+ Read More
Hello everyone! The support has been truly incredible! Thank you so much for sharing this campaign and also donating to it. I want to also thank all of the media outlets that have covered about this great cause. You might or might not know that I also have 2 other school lunch debt campaigns that I am working hard on. Tacoma School District already hit the goal the other day and still accepting donations to help cover future lunch debts. Renton School District is a little halfway towards the goal. Please help both of them out if you can! Thank you again!

Renton School District: https://www.gofundme.com/erase-renton-school-lunch-debt

Tacoma School District:
https://www.gofundme.com/erase-tacoma-school-lunch-debt

P.S. Our friends in Everett School District is super close to hitting their goal! Let's try to help them get there soon! Thank you! https://www.gofundme.com/3s1d40o
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Harnette Ticket-Lady Slade-Jones
19 months ago

This is AWESOME and all for a good cause. As a former lunch lady for SPS, I had several situations that came up. I came out of my pocket at times to make sure children were fed and balancea stayed at a minimum.

+ Read More
Ronald Babbel
19 months ago

For anyone who doubts the impact of not having funds to cover lunch I urge you to spend some time volunteering at your local elementary school. For years I assisted our children's lunchroom staff with kitchen duties and nothing I mean NOTHING during this time affected me as much as the look on the child's face as they were told they didn't have money in their account. They would receive a stamp on the hand to remind them to tell their parents and the debt would be added to their account. If they became to far behind, they would possible receive a juice and possibly a small snack. I see some people here commenting about their own lives and it is sad that you experienced this but it gives me pause that you feel that your experiences in any way justifies these actions today. Look into the face of a 5 or 6 year old child that is just beginning school and typically has not idea why they suddenly became responsible for instructing their parents on financial responsibilities. Then there were children who would show up a few times a week with a zip lock bag of loose coins or small bills which were turned over to the staff in exchange for a few hot meals. To those that say that there are other debts that should take priority, I see little that has as direct of an affect on our children's immediate lives as knowing they will eat and not needing to worry about how it was paid for. For those who hide behind their Facebook account and spout your nonsense about it being the parent's responsibility and asking if the debts are real, I would like to ask you this WHO CARES! I would love to watch as you explain to these young children that they don't deserve to eat lunch because their mommy or daddy didn't pay for it. Let's not even begin with the fact that a large number of these children's home may be lacking a mommy or a daddy or may not see much of them because of work. I do apologize for the Rant but as my wife can attest, this has been a subject that has been close to my heart for years and I applaud this effort to remove this burden from our children. For those who's hearts have calloused over the years, I implore you to keep your negative comments to appropriate forums such as politics and allow other the opportunity to enjoy and be thankful that the kindness and caring for others has not completely vanished from the country we live in.

+ Read More
Allan Benavides
19 months ago

Heidi And Patrick: you want to know what really doesn't help? Your negative comments. Why do you have to shit on a positive thing someone is doing for their community?

+ Read More
Julie Anne Hanner
19 months ago
6
6

Like my mom said, if you don't have anything nice to say, then say nothing.

+ Read More
Carol Butterfield
19 months ago
4
4

Jeff Lew- you are brilliant. I am a the past president of three different schools' PTA's. What a lovely, lovely idea. Thank you for having this idea and making it happen. ♥

+ Read More
Sarah Lenaburg
19 months ago
3
3

Inspired by this campaign, I started one locally for my sons school district. Everett SD has a lunch debt of $5000+

+ Read More
Sandy L. Dunaway Clark
19 months ago
3
3

Patrick, seriously? What these people choose to donate money to is truly none of your business. Sorry you grew up with parents lIke that who told you to just deal with it. Do you realize that a family of 4 making less than $ 75,000.00 yearly, in Seattle is considered poverty. Families need help and this fundraiser is amazing! Thank you to all for participating in this. Such a great cause. We need more empathetic and kind people to help look after our children.

+ Read More
Dee Bender
18 months ago
2
2

In response to Heidi's comment expressing concern that these funds may not go towards erasing the truly needy's debt, and might go towards parents who actually have the means to pay but mismanagement their finances. Who cares? I don't. It is not the parents financial circumstances that matters here, it is the child's. It is the child who has to stand in line with no means to pay for lunch and deal directly with those consequences, i.e. feeling shamed. Frankly, easy solution, at least on the elementary school level, free lunch for all. As a tax payer I'd happily pay for that.

+ Read More
Janice Connors
19 months ago
2
2

Thank you Jeff Lew! I recently read an article on how schools around the country deal with unpaid lunches, and it has been on my mind ever since. Thank you for taking the effort to make this happen. Thanks to all the donors to take away the debt. I hope the page stays up, and we get a nice surplus to bank for the future!

+ Read More
James Whitmore
19 months ago
2
2

What a great idea and cause. While our greedy politicians are busy robbing ouu kids future the citizens are rising up to protect American kids. Good for you!

+ Read More
DeShieka Hedgemon
19 months ago
2
2

I donated! But I would love if we could all work together to ease the burden of as many Washington schools and children. Too many kids go hungry and it is apparent we can't count on our government to help.

+ Read More
Heidi Eckel Alessi
19 months ago
2
2

While I admire the intent, I question whether this is the best use of private donations when there are so many competing needs and donor fatigue. $20k in Total school lunch "debt" isn't much when you consider that there are 54k+ students. And, the information does not tell us whether the debt is because the family cannot afford to pay. I've been a couple of days late logging in to paypams and my sons can easily rack up $10-$20 in that time. Spread over 54k students, that ca

+ Read More
Michelle Skop
18 months ago
1
1

I think this is great. I love stories like this. I actually used to work in my school's kitchen in 5th and 6th grade because I LOVED the hot lunches and my parents wouldn't give me the money for one (they figured I could pack a lunch). I was never left hungry so I don't really know how it feels. I did it simply because I liked the food and actually enjoyed working in the kitchen (it got me out of class early, lol). I am not sure if that is even an option anymore (for kids to work in the school kitchen). The kids shouldn't have to do it though. I know I was never made fun of because I did it., but I did it because I wanted to and not because I had to. I know the teen we took in (his family was evicted) gets a free lunch at school. I don't think anyone teases him about it. I don't know what process he goes through to get the lunch. I hope it is anonymous. I pack my son's lunch and we asked the other kid what he does for lunch and he said he gets one free so he was all set. Anyway...I know there ARE a lot of kids who are hungry. I know many parents may make more than the official poverty levels but still be strapped for cash. We don't know what is going on in a lot of those homes. I know when I was in high school my parents divorced and my mom got cancer. We were BROKE because COBRA insurance was so expensive with my mom's pre-existing condition. My grandma helped a lot and without her I don't know what we would have done. I probably would have been homeless. That could be any of these kids. So even if they may not qualify for a free lunch it doesn't mean the family isn't struggling. Or some people are too proud to ask for help. So thank you for helping those kids who fall through the cracks. I would have been one of them.

+ Read More
Laurie Smith
18 months ago
1
1

Bravo to this idea and you for creating it and moving forward to help out many in need!!!! I think this should be done in many other cities and states!!! Great job!!!

+ Read More
Sean Dwyer
19 months ago
1
1

Hello Mr. Lew, are you considering expanding to Bellingham, or should I do that one? I'll be glad to join forces with you if that's easiest for you.

+ Read More
Patrick Patterson
19 months ago
1
1

What does this do for the kids except expand their awareness of being in a shitty situation? I had free lunch and sometimes I didn't have anything, but I had parents who were parents, they told me how it was and that I had to deal. I was made fun of, which I also just had to deal with. Not having parents around doesn't change this. I didn't and don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me. Telling children that they deserve better does nothing but make you able to sleep at night. They will continue to rack up debt after this insult of a fundraiser. This does nothing to fix the problem, it only allows a few to delay their problems for a very short while. Their parents will see this as a get out of jail free card and spend money proportionately. If you aren't going to address the issue of parents truly being responsible and present for their children, then this will continue even if you raised a million dollars.

+ Read More
Heidi Eckel Alessi
19 months ago
1
1

Above comment cut off - debt can equal a lot spread over the number of students. How do we know this is helping families that actually can't pay? What is the time period for classifying an unpaid lunch as a debt?

+ Read More
Rachel Kayne-Amoureux
15 months ago

When are you going to give the school system this money??? We have debt here and it would be nice to erase it...like you promised.

+ Read More
Tim Salcedo
17 months ago

Part 4: And the superintendent. For some reason, gofundne is not allowing me to post their email addresses.

+ Read More
Tim Salcedo
17 months ago

Part 3: If anybody knows how to get these debts covered, please contact Seattle Schools Nutrition Services

+ Read More

$50,092 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 753 people in 19 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
 Share on Facebook
Created May 9, 2017
Jeff Lew
on behalf of Seattle School District
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
JC
$20
Jenn C
16 months ago

Thank you creating this campaign!

RP
$50
Rachel Petroski
17 months ago

I am a teacher and I can tell you first hand that hungry stressed students do not learn as well as satiated relaxed kiddos do! Thanks for sharing your compassion!

$10
Anonymous
17 months ago
CT
$100
Colleen Tyerman
17 months ago

To celebrate a generous couple young couple -Jackie and Damian- who suggested gifts for their wedding be instead a donation to a favorite cause or need. I think 'pay the lunch deficit' would please them!

$50
Anonymous
17 months ago
JB
$50
Jacqueline Bardsley
17 months ago

Thanks for organizing this great campaign.

Harnette Ticket-Lady Slade-Jones
19 months ago

This is AWESOME and all for a good cause. As a former lunch lady for SPS, I had several situations that came up. I came out of my pocket at times to make sure children were fed and balancea stayed at a minimum.

+ Read More
Ronald Babbel
19 months ago

For anyone who doubts the impact of not having funds to cover lunch I urge you to spend some time volunteering at your local elementary school. For years I assisted our children's lunchroom staff with kitchen duties and nothing I mean NOTHING during this time affected me as much as the look on the child's face as they were told they didn't have money in their account. They would receive a stamp on the hand to remind them to tell their parents and the debt would be added to their account. If they became to far behind, they would possible receive a juice and possibly a small snack. I see some people here commenting about their own lives and it is sad that you experienced this but it gives me pause that you feel that your experiences in any way justifies these actions today. Look into the face of a 5 or 6 year old child that is just beginning school and typically has not idea why they suddenly became responsible for instructing their parents on financial responsibilities. Then there were children who would show up a few times a week with a zip lock bag of loose coins or small bills which were turned over to the staff in exchange for a few hot meals. To those that say that there are other debts that should take priority, I see little that has as direct of an affect on our children's immediate lives as knowing they will eat and not needing to worry about how it was paid for. For those who hide behind their Facebook account and spout your nonsense about it being the parent's responsibility and asking if the debts are real, I would like to ask you this WHO CARES! I would love to watch as you explain to these young children that they don't deserve to eat lunch because their mommy or daddy didn't pay for it. Let's not even begin with the fact that a large number of these children's home may be lacking a mommy or a daddy or may not see much of them because of work. I do apologize for the Rant but as my wife can attest, this has been a subject that has been close to my heart for years and I applaud this effort to remove this burden from our children. For those who's hearts have calloused over the years, I implore you to keep your negative comments to appropriate forums such as politics and allow other the opportunity to enjoy and be thankful that the kindness and caring for others has not completely vanished from the country we live in.

+ Read More
Allan Benavides
19 months ago

Heidi And Patrick: you want to know what really doesn't help? Your negative comments. Why do you have to shit on a positive thing someone is doing for their community?

+ Read More
Julie Anne Hanner
19 months ago
6
6

Like my mom said, if you don't have anything nice to say, then say nothing.

+ Read More
Carol Butterfield
19 months ago
4
4

Jeff Lew- you are brilliant. I am a the past president of three different schools' PTA's. What a lovely, lovely idea. Thank you for having this idea and making it happen. ♥

+ Read More
Sarah Lenaburg
19 months ago
3
3

Inspired by this campaign, I started one locally for my sons school district. Everett SD has a lunch debt of $5000+

+ Read More
Sandy L. Dunaway Clark
19 months ago
3
3

Patrick, seriously? What these people choose to donate money to is truly none of your business. Sorry you grew up with parents lIke that who told you to just deal with it. Do you realize that a family of 4 making less than $ 75,000.00 yearly, in Seattle is considered poverty. Families need help and this fundraiser is amazing! Thank you to all for participating in this. Such a great cause. We need more empathetic and kind people to help look after our children.

+ Read More
Dee Bender
18 months ago
2
2

In response to Heidi's comment expressing concern that these funds may not go towards erasing the truly needy's debt, and might go towards parents who actually have the means to pay but mismanagement their finances. Who cares? I don't. It is not the parents financial circumstances that matters here, it is the child's. It is the child who has to stand in line with no means to pay for lunch and deal directly with those consequences, i.e. feeling shamed. Frankly, easy solution, at least on the elementary school level, free lunch for all. As a tax payer I'd happily pay for that.

+ Read More
Janice Connors
19 months ago
2
2

Thank you Jeff Lew! I recently read an article on how schools around the country deal with unpaid lunches, and it has been on my mind ever since. Thank you for taking the effort to make this happen. Thanks to all the donors to take away the debt. I hope the page stays up, and we get a nice surplus to bank for the future!

+ Read More
James Whitmore
19 months ago
2
2

What a great idea and cause. While our greedy politicians are busy robbing ouu kids future the citizens are rising up to protect American kids. Good for you!

+ Read More
DeShieka Hedgemon
19 months ago
2
2

I donated! But I would love if we could all work together to ease the burden of as many Washington schools and children. Too many kids go hungry and it is apparent we can't count on our government to help.

+ Read More
Heidi Eckel Alessi
19 months ago
2
2

While I admire the intent, I question whether this is the best use of private donations when there are so many competing needs and donor fatigue. $20k in Total school lunch "debt" isn't much when you consider that there are 54k+ students. And, the information does not tell us whether the debt is because the family cannot afford to pay. I've been a couple of days late logging in to paypams and my sons can easily rack up $10-$20 in that time. Spread over 54k students, that ca

+ Read More
Michelle Skop
18 months ago
1
1

I think this is great. I love stories like this. I actually used to work in my school's kitchen in 5th and 6th grade because I LOVED the hot lunches and my parents wouldn't give me the money for one (they figured I could pack a lunch). I was never left hungry so I don't really know how it feels. I did it simply because I liked the food and actually enjoyed working in the kitchen (it got me out of class early, lol). I am not sure if that is even an option anymore (for kids to work in the school kitchen). The kids shouldn't have to do it though. I know I was never made fun of because I did it., but I did it because I wanted to and not because I had to. I know the teen we took in (his family was evicted) gets a free lunch at school. I don't think anyone teases him about it. I don't know what process he goes through to get the lunch. I hope it is anonymous. I pack my son's lunch and we asked the other kid what he does for lunch and he said he gets one free so he was all set. Anyway...I know there ARE a lot of kids who are hungry. I know many parents may make more than the official poverty levels but still be strapped for cash. We don't know what is going on in a lot of those homes. I know when I was in high school my parents divorced and my mom got cancer. We were BROKE because COBRA insurance was so expensive with my mom's pre-existing condition. My grandma helped a lot and without her I don't know what we would have done. I probably would have been homeless. That could be any of these kids. So even if they may not qualify for a free lunch it doesn't mean the family isn't struggling. Or some people are too proud to ask for help. So thank you for helping those kids who fall through the cracks. I would have been one of them.

+ Read More
Laurie Smith
18 months ago
1
1

Bravo to this idea and you for creating it and moving forward to help out many in need!!!! I think this should be done in many other cities and states!!! Great job!!!

+ Read More
Sean Dwyer
19 months ago
1
1

Hello Mr. Lew, are you considering expanding to Bellingham, or should I do that one? I'll be glad to join forces with you if that's easiest for you.

+ Read More
Patrick Patterson
19 months ago
1
1

What does this do for the kids except expand their awareness of being in a shitty situation? I had free lunch and sometimes I didn't have anything, but I had parents who were parents, they told me how it was and that I had to deal. I was made fun of, which I also just had to deal with. Not having parents around doesn't change this. I didn't and don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me. Telling children that they deserve better does nothing but make you able to sleep at night. They will continue to rack up debt after this insult of a fundraiser. This does nothing to fix the problem, it only allows a few to delay their problems for a very short while. Their parents will see this as a get out of jail free card and spend money proportionately. If you aren't going to address the issue of parents truly being responsible and present for their children, then this will continue even if you raised a million dollars.

+ Read More
Heidi Eckel Alessi
19 months ago
1
1

Above comment cut off - debt can equal a lot spread over the number of students. How do we know this is helping families that actually can't pay? What is the time period for classifying an unpaid lunch as a debt?

+ Read More
Rachel Kayne-Amoureux
15 months ago

When are you going to give the school system this money??? We have debt here and it would be nice to erase it...like you promised.

+ Read More
Tim Salcedo
17 months ago

Part 4: And the superintendent. For some reason, gofundne is not allowing me to post their email addresses.

+ Read More
Tim Salcedo
17 months ago

Part 3: If anybody knows how to get these debts covered, please contact Seattle Schools Nutrition Services

+ Read More
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.