As a single woman with no children, Sarah Shoots doesn’t need to worry about kids getting enough to eat during the school day. But as a human being with a huge heart, she does care!
The statistics around school lunch debt are disheartening. One article reports that over 75 percent of school districts in the United States have meal debt, amounting to around $262 million in outstanding balances per year. Some students are even subjected to “lunch shaming” if they can’t afford lunch.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents’ wallets got a break with free school lunches, but now that free lunches are no longer being offered, many are back to struggling.
Sarah was browsing social media one day when she saw a video about paying someone’s electric bill for them. A commenter mentioned that paying off school lunch debts was also a good way to help others, and Sarah loved the idea. She decided to use some of her own money to do just that, starting with the school right across the street from her apartment.
She recorded a video of herself calling the school to ask how much debt they have, then uploaded it to TikTok to raise awareness of both the situation and her mission. The video really took off!
Well over a million people viewed Sarah’s video! Thousands of people left her encouraging comments, and a few were moved to tears by her generosity. For others, the need for this debt relief brought back painful memories of their own hungry school days.
“As someone who sat in the bathroom during lunch for like 9 years bc I didn’t have food or $, I’m sobbing. Thank you,” wrote one person.
In a follow-up video, Sarah went to the school and wrote a check for over $1,000 to bring their school lunch balance to zero.
“We did it,” Sarah tells the camera as she leaves the school, elated. “Who’s next? Let’s go.”
After people continued to praise her for her good work, Sarah shared her Venmo information for anyone who wants to contribute to the cause. She loves doing it so much, she has no desire to stop anytime soon. She was especially encouraged when she learned that a total stranger sent her a $1,700 donation to pay off another school’s lunch tab!
Way to go, Sarah! She is doing what she can to help the next generation reach their fullest potential! No child should go hungry or feel ashamed because they can’t afford food. We hope sharing her story encourages others to do what they can do to help, too.
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