Kate Lacroix is a mom from Boulder, Colorado. She has spent the last few months living her motto, “The need to feel nourished is universal.” Lacroix has been raising money to wipe out student lunch debt in her state and since November 2018 she has
raised $20,000. Her crusade has caught the attention of those in at least four other states, who have asked her for tips on how to expand her project to wipe out their students’ outstanding lunch debt.
A Growing Movement of Wiping Out School Lunch Debt
Student lunch debt is an ongoing concern across the country. In December 2016, writer
Ashley C. Ford wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.” It kicked off a movement, on the wave of which Lacroix and others have ridden. Ford’s push raised hundreds of thousands of dollars across the nation, according to
In Minnesota, an online fundraising effort has paid almost $100,000 in lunch debt in Minneapolis schools and $28,000 in St. Paul’s. Donors, mostly anonymous, erased $6,000 in debts in Topeka, Kansas, $2,000 in Bellevue, Washington, $1,200 in Wilmington, Delaware, and $900 in Herminie, Pennsylvania
This all feels great to hear, right? But, there’s an issue. You see, even feel-good stories like Lacroix’s only highlight how poorly we’re doing as a society to fund schools properly. Despite the $20k Lacroix’s raised so far, that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the
$232,000 (!) in unpaid lunch debts in her district alone. Oh yeah, and that’s only this school year—we’re talking since September. Even though kids in this district are still permitted to eat lunch when they can’t pay, the schools still have to eat the loss at the end of the year. You can see how those debts can quickly snowball. This is a systemic issue that cannot be solved through a few donations whenever someone feels like doing a good thing. If we don’t re-prioritize the school funding situation in this country and chose as a society to believe “the need to feel nourished is universal,” these students will be left with donations that are mere bandaids on a gaping wound.