There are far too many kids who go to school without a healthy, nutritious lunch. Luckily, some schools offer a built-in lunch program. Unfortunately, students or their parents aren't always able to afford the prices of those lunch programs.
For students in one school district in Rhode Island, the high cost of their lunch program left them with barely enough to get by. Luckily, one man stepped up to help out.
State Law Mandates That Schools Provide Students With Lunch
Children in Rhode Island are given free or reduced lunches, but those lunches have to be paid by someone. Unfortunately, that bill falls on the parents, and those payments can't always be made.
So the Warwick Public School District let parents know that any student who didn't pay their balance would be getting a different, reduced-quality lunch. This meant that families that were already struggling to make ends meet were now getting less than others.
These Kids Are Only Getting Sun Butter And Jelly Sandwiches
According to the Warwick Public School District, "If money is owed on a paid, free, or reduced lunch account a sun butter and jelly sandwich will be given as the lunch choice until the balance owed is paid in full or a payment plan is set up through the food service office."
This ruling had a direct effect on nearly 9000 children. While Rhode Island schools are required by law to offer students a meal, the quality of the meal has taken a hit because of the money owed. Luckily, one man jumped in to help.
The CEO Of A Yogurt Company Came To The Rescue
Hamdi Ulukaya is the CEO of Chobani, an American Greek yogurt company. After learning about the food being served in Rhode Island, Ulukaya stepped in with a $77,000 donation to help cover the debts to these school children.
After his donation, Ulukaya took to Twitter to share why he felt the need to step in and help these kids get a hot meal. "As a parent, news of #WarwickPulblicSchools breaks my heart. Every child should have access to natural, nutritious and delicious food."
Children Shouldn't Have To Worry About Where They Get Their Next Meal
During his brief 27 second video, Ulukaya urged everyone to do their part in helping out those in need, especially children. "The last thing that kids should worry about today is if there's a warm lunch for them at school — and the shame they might feel if their classmates realize they can't afford a school lunch."
Ulukaya and his company are looking to bring attention to the national food crisis among students in America. Nearly 70% of children in the Warwick school district qualify for these free or reduced lunches.
There Is Still More Work Ahead For Rhode Island Schools
Despite Ulukaya's generous offer, there is still a sizable debt that is owed across Rhode Island when it comes to funding these lunches. While the Associated Press was told that Warwick was owed around $40,000, Newsweek reported that $300,000 is owed for lunches across Rhode Island.
Parents are naturally in an uproar, as students may be feeling like they're being shamed or punished because their families simply cannot afford the costs of these lunches. Ulukaya's donation is a step in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done in order to ensure children are getting the proper nutrition in order to live happy and healthy lives.