School District Says Students Who Owe Lunch Money Get Cold Sandwiches

Company paid lunch debt after district serves cold lunches to students who couldn’t pay

The unpaid lunch debt that forced kids who didn’t have enough money in their accounts to have a cold sandwich, has been paid.

The yogurt company, Chobani, paid $47,650 of the total $77,000 student lunch debts in Warwick, Rhode Island, WJAR reported. It will cover the low-income student’s debts.

As of Wednesday, there had been 1,653 families with outstanding lunch debt that was wiped out by Chobani’s donation. Many of the students who were in debt were not part of the free or reduced lunch program, WJAR reported.

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“The last thing that kids should worry about today is if there’s a warm lunch for them at school -- and the shame they may feel if their classmates realize they can't afford a school lunch,” the company said in a press release.

Hamdi Ulukaya has issued a challenge to get others to help children to have nutritious foods. 

The yogurt company wasn’t the only one to step up to try to help students have a hot meal.

>>Read: Rhode Island students who owe lunch money will get cold sandwiches, officials say

Angelica Penta wanted to donate money once word got out that children who owed money only got sun butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. She wanted to give the schools $4,000 check, The New York Times reported. But the school district said no because it “was not in the position to single out or identify specific students that should be selected for a reduction in their lunch debt while excluding others,” WJAR reported.

Despite her request being denied, she is collecting donations at her restaurants. There was also a GoFundMe account set up that has more than $53,800 in donations as of Friday morning. 

The school district is also reconsidering the plan to only serve cold sandwiches to students who owe money.

Tuesday the school committee is scheduled to vote on a measure that would allow students to choose their meal no matter if they have the money to pay for it or not, WJAR reported.

FILE PHOTO: A school in Rhode Island was going to give students who had lunch debts a cold sandwich for lunch. But a yogurt company paid the bill.
Photo: kamuelaboy/Morguefile

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