In other words, if parents aren’t paying for their lunches, they don’t get any food. Some schools stamp students’ hands, which serves as a reminder to their parents that they need to pay for their lunch debt. Others have decided to serve students meager lunches with little to no nutritional value. Are these methods affective? Better yet, are these methods right? The short answer is no. So why is what’s being called “lunch shaming” happening? It’s a difficult problem. Some families can’t afford to pay off their lunch debt, and schools can’t afford to pay for extra food when there’s no money coming in from the families. So, what now? There are no easy solutions, but many communities have stepped up to help these families and schools. Recently, the community and founder of Chobani (a yogurt company) raised and donated funds to a local school in Warwick, Rhode Island, that was planning to serve students carrying a lunch debt with a sun-butter sandwich, a carton of milk, a piece of fruit, and the vegetable of the day, instead of a full hot lunch meal. These funds covered the outstanding balance of these lunch debts and helped reverse the school’s lunchtime plans.
How would you try to solve a school’s lunch debt problem?