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Man raises nearly $8K to pay off high school lunch debt for students

ABC News logo ABC News 10/7/2019
a person holding a plate of food: A young girl carries a her lunch in this stock photo. © STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images A young girl carries a her lunch in this stock photo.

One man stepped up to help students in his community and raised more than $7,500 to pay off school lunch debt for high school students.

Dustin Wright created a fundraiser on Facebook with the initial goal of collecting $1,000 towards the negative lunch account balances at Amherst County High School.

"After reading several stories of kids having to put hot lunches back because they didn't have enough money on their cafeteria accounts I thought maybe we could raise some money for kids in similar situations in our area," Wright wrote on the "Cafeteria Accounts for Local Schools" fundraiser page. According to ABC News Lynchburg affiliate WSET, Wright contacted the high school and learned there was a balance of more than $4,000 in negative accounts.

(MORE: Rep. Ilhan Omar announces bill to end student lunch debt shaming )

The former Marine and father of three said a school staff member told him that the high school was most in need, and "depending on how well this goes, we can focus on the middle and elementary schools after."

"Children should not be worried about their account balances; they just need to focus on school and getting food to feed their growing minds and bodies," he wrote. "Thank you in advance for any donations." Regardless of a student's balance, Amherst County Public Schools did note that they can still receive a hot meal.

Since the campaign began on Wednesday, Wright surpassed his initial goal and closed the campaign out once it reached $7,676.

(MORE: Shaming over lunch debt can have negative impacts on students' psyches: Experts)


Wright shared the payment details about how the donations were being processed to avoid fees and to be transparent in a post on Facebook.

He also said he received cash donations and personal checks, which he added into a Navy Federal bank account and transferred the value into the fundraiser.

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