Wisconsin Dad Pays Off Students' Lunch Balances After Some Were Going Without Hot Meals
Other families have been reaching out to Shawn Bumgardner to find out how they can help.
When a dad found out some of his daughter's classmates weren't getting a hot meal at lunch, he knew he had to do something.
Shawn Bumgardner told WDJT he was shocked when he learned some of the children at Cudahy Middle School in Wisconsin weren't able to eat the same lunches as their peers because they had no money in their lunch accounts.
"I heard of a child at Cudahy Middle School who was sharing their lunch with another child who couldn't afford to eat," he told the station.
So Shawn opened his own pockets and paid off the school's lunch account balances himself.
"There's no child that should go to school and be hungry," he said.
Bumgardner said he hopes it sets an example for his daughter and others.
"That one random act of kindness can make someone else give a random act of kindness," he said.
When reached by InsideEdition.com, Dr. Jim Heiden, superintendent for the Cudahy School District, said no child is going without lunch. Children with outstanding lunch balances are given three hot meals, and their parents or guardians are reminded to add money to their accounts, he said. After the third meal, they are given peanut butter sandwiches and milk, he said, but they never go without food.
"We take the health, safety and well being of our students very seriously," he said.
Student meal debt is a growing problem across the country; 75% of school districts had unpaid meal debt at the end of the 2017 school year, according to the School Nutrition Association.
Earlier this year, a school district in Rhode Island came under fire after saying students with school lunch debts would be given cold sunbutter and jelly sandwiches.
In light of the reports, yogurt company Chobani donated nearly $50,000 to help pay off the debt.
CEO Hamdi Ulukaya tweeted, "As a parent, news of Warwick Public Schools breaks my heart. No child should be facing anything like this."
In a Facebook post, Karen Bachus, the chairwoman of the Warwick School Committee, said that "after careful review and consideration," the committee recommended letting students choose what they wanted for lunch "regardless of their account status."
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