School lunch

An example of a Shakopee Schools lunch. Submitted photo

People across the country — and right here in the southwest metro — are pooling together funds to pay off school lunch debt. 

GoFundMe released new data this week that says since 2017, the online fundraising community has come together to raise nearly $750,000 from more than 200 campaigns in an effort to erase school lunch debt.

With more than $150,000 raised in 2019 alone, community members across the country continue to raise funds on GoFundMe to help pay off the accounts of children whose families couldn't afford them, according to the organization. 

Some of the children experience "lunch-shaming" when in debt, where they'd be given cold food or even made to wear bracelets that would set them apart from other students in some districts, GoFundMe said. 

There are many accounts set up across the state, including one to wipe out school lunch debt in Prior Lake-Savage schools. That fundraiser has gathered $360 toward its $15,000 goal as of Tuesday, May 21. 

Here are some other GoFundMe fundraisers in the area: 

  • Gassen Company Property Management in Eden Prairie has teamed up with Achieve Minneapolis, the city of Minneapolis' district nonprofit partner that accepts donations to pay off past due lunch account in Minneapolis schools. The fundraiser has raised $65 toward its $5,000 goal. 
  • A fundraiser for St. Paul Public Schools to pay off school lunch debt. The fundraiser, which aims to pay off lunch debt, supply the district rice and veggie steam ovens and help kids avoid the "alternate" lunch due to empty accounts, has collected $1,535 toward a goal of $10,000. 

To access a full list of GoFundMe accounts dedicated to eliminating school lunch debt across the country, visit gofundme.com/c/act/erase-school-lunch-debt

Digital content coordinator

Rachel Minske is the digital content coordinator at Southwest News Media. She's passionate about in-depth reporting and digital audiences. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and enjoys cooking, running and exploring Minnesota.

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