Residents donate to pay off student lunch debt

Website helps contribute to unpaid lunch debt

AUSTIN - The debt racked up by hundreds of Austin ISD students who couldn’t pay for their lunches has been wiped away thanks to a crowd-funding campaign.

AISD and other districts are making sure all students are fed, which can get pricey. Around 700 AISD students show up every day with no lunch or money to pay for one. The district reports giving out hundreds of free meals each day.

"The debt our students accrue is around $13,000, but the district covers those courtesy meals and it costs about $350,000 a year," explained AISD's Food Services Director Anneliese Tanner.

That debt is the reason why Tanner created a crowd funding website where parents can donate money to pay off the debt. She's hoping more parents will get behind the campaign.

"It takes a village to raise a child," Tanner said. 

Tanner said her district makes sure every student is fed no matter what.

AISD charges a student for their first three lunches they don't pay for, then provides courtesy lunches after that.

In Texas, there are no USDA nutritional requirements for courtesy lunches, but AISD is trying to keep things healthy by offering a sandwich, vegetable side and milk for elementary school students. Middle school and high school students can switch the sandwich for a salad.

"We believe in healthy tasty food for all," AISD's food services director Anneliese Tanner said.

As of Wednesday night, the campaign has raised more than $18,000. TAP HERE for more information and to donate.

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