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A school lunch consisting of rice, salmon, ratatouille, salad with celery and carrots, an orange, a slice of bread and a donut is laid out on a tray at the Anne Frank school in Lambersart, northern France on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

One tweet launched a nationwide effort to pay off kids' school lunch debt


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.
Ashley C. Ford tweeted

One woman's simple tweet, aimed at appealing to her 67,000 Twitter followers, sparked a nationwide effort to pay off kids' school lunch debt. 

Two months and more than 6,000 retweets later, people across the country have donated thousands to erase school lunch debts that can follow students throughout their academic careers, according to CBS News

“It really hit home for me,” Kristina Arwood of Evansville, Indiana, told CBS News of the tweet, which inspired her to launch a campaign in her community. “I grew up on free and reduced-price lunches, but even that 40 cents was hard to get together with four kids."

CBS News reports that in Minnesota an online fundraiser was able to raise nearly $100,000 to cover school lunch debt. Donors in Topeka, Kansas, gave $6,000, while $2,000 worth of donations were raised in Bellevue, Washington. 

But the effort didn't stop there! Donations came to schools in Delaware and Pennslyvania as well. 

It also inspired a yarn maker in New York to collect $6,000 worth of donations to cover debts owed by 600 students in her area. 

The School Nutrition Association's 2016 survey of 1,000 school lunch program operators found that three-quarters of districts had unpaid student meal debt at the end of the year, CBS News reports. 

The survey found that the median debt per district amounted to $2,000.

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