Thousands of Austin Independent School District students and their parents won’t have to worry about paying for school lunches. A local Austin group raised enough money to cover the debts for 3,400 meals.
Austin ISD lets students buy their lunches on credit. In all, the district has about $31,000 in school lunch debt. The Austin Infill Coalition decided to put a dent in it with a goal of raising $1,500 — enough to cover all student lunch debt in the 78702 zip code in east Austin. There are seven elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school and an alternative learning center in that zip code.
Lex Zwarum, who chairs the Austin Infill Coalition, said they quickly surpassed that goal.
“The response was immediate, tremendous and heartwarming,” Zwarum said. “Within hours of sending the initial email, we crushed our original goal, so we decided to raise the goal to $5,000. But before we could even send out that challenge, we surpassed that amount, as well.”
More than 50 builders and those affiliated with infill building donated $10,000 total, and hopes to eventually help with the remaining debt as well.
Paying off school lunches became a mini-movement at the beginning of last year, with people across the nation rallying to pay off school lunch debts, including in Central Texas. In February 2017, a couple walked into Rowe Elementary School in Pflugerville, checkbook in hand. They paid off the lunch debts for the entire school.
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