Earlier this week reports came out that the Warwick School District in Rhode Island was about to implement a policy that students who had outstanding school lunch debt would only be served sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. According to the district, they had over $77,000 in school lunch debt and were also facing millions of dollars in budget deficits this coming fiscal year. The fact that schools are squeezed for debt, and would have to sink to shaming kids and their families is a sad state of affairs.
After the blowback from this policy decision crossed the country, the Warwick School District announced on Wednesday that they were reversing course on the jelly sandwich policy, telling CBS News that they had collected around $14,000 from parents with outstanding debts.
On Thursday, the Warwick School District got some even better news as the founder and CEO of Chobani Yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya, announced that his company would be paying off and covering the expenses for these students.
business must do its part.. our responsibility as members of community. who will join us? pic.twitter.com/6HOTjDE4CX
— Hamdi Ulukaya (@hamdiulukaya) May 9, 2019
Ulukaya sent out a statement with more information on the need for our country to end food insecurity.
“As a parent, this news breaks my heart. For every child, access to naturally nutritious and delicious food should be a right, not a privilege. When our children are strong, our families are stronger,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani. “And when our families are strong, our communities are stronger. Business can and must do its part to solve the hunger crisis in America and do its part in the communities they call home.”
But, if you watch the video above, Ulykaya is clear, this is a small piece of work, and there are millions of children and families dealing with food insecurity across the country.
Diary was updated at 5:26pm PST, to reflect that the unpaid lunch debt was $77,000, not $40,000.