In an effort to help a school district in North Carolina pay down debt for lunch money to the tune of $41,000—two girls are earning money one cup of lemonade at a time.
While researching neighboring communities near their own hometown of Lexington, North Carolina, Hailey, 13, and Hannah, 11, to possibly donate to, the youngsters learned something new. Their principal informed them that there were families in their very own school district that were struggling day to day to provide affordable lunches for students.
The girl’s mother stated to TODAY food that the school called and told them that the system owed a considerable amount of money due to cafeteria debt and that if anyone could help with possibly paying it off, it would be very much appreciated. She went on to say that they had been searching for a need to try and fill and decided there was a real significant need right in their own backyard.
The superintendent of Davidson County Schools, Emily Lipe, said that the “School Nutrition meal debt” is money that the district currently owes the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Lipe said the debt included 36 schools in the district total, and serves as a means for those students who don’t’ have the money to be able to have lunch. The district is responsible for reimbursing the government for the debt, and the debt is a hefty one.
The Hager’s, Hailey and Hannah, have a Facebook page connected to their lemonade stand–Hailey and Hannah’s Helping Hands. They created the stand not only to help with the district’s debt but also to create awareness about a very ongoing problem—lunch shaming—which has become a national issue. Although the act of “lunch shaming” is not known to happen in the Hager’s school district, Lipe and others have taken the extra steps needed to make sure no student is ostracized for the lack of funds for a meal.