By Lauren M. Johnson
One man in Jupiter, Florida, decided that he could make a difference in his town by paying off the lunch debt for every child in the system. It all started with a Facebook post.
Angie Vyas-Knight, administrator of the “Jupiter Mamas” Facebook group, told CNN she was disgusted by national news stories about children who couldn’t afford to buy lunch at school. She asked the Palm Beach county school board for her district’s stats.
To spread awareness, she shared the list of nine schools’ outstanding lunch debt of $944.34. Weeks later, the list made its way to Jupiter real estate agent Andrew Levy.
Levy decided he wanted to do something about the list, and paid the balance for all 400 kids in full. He knew that the kids in debt would go without eating or simply get a cheese sandwich.
“I thought that’s crazy. Food is something you shouldn’t have to think about. Children shouldn’t learn hungry,” Levy told CNN affiliate WPEC.
But he isn’t stopping there. “I’m going to do either a GoFundMe page or a fundraising page that can raise money every quarter, so lunch debt never accumulates so that children never have to worry about a hot meal and parents never have to worry about paying the bill,” he said.
Sharing his small spark of kindness started a fire with those who found out about his personal initiative. Over 200 people offered to help on his Facebook alone. With their help, Levy can start to not only tackle the lunch debt of Jupiter but the greater debt of Palm Beach County.
A spokeswoman for the district told CNN that the total school lunch debt was around $50,000 for over 180,000 enrolled students.