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Sugar Cookie

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The schools in Warwick, Rhode Island, can put those sun butter and jelly sandwiches away: Someone is stepping up to pay the massive lunch debt of some of its students.

That “someone” is yogurt company Chobani, which is paying off $47,650 of the $77,000 debt.

The donation from Chobani will be used to pay the debts of low-income students, Courtney Marciano, spokeswoman for the city of Warwick, told CNN.

Warwick Public School caused an uproar earlier this week when it announced that any students who had unpaid balances on their lunch accounts would receive a sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich until their balance was paid.

“As a parent, this news breaks my heart,” Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in statement. “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. 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.”

In addition to paying off the debt, Chobani is also donating cups and yogurt to the community in Warwick.

Both school lunch debt and “lunch shaming” are huge problems in public schools nationwide. Last April, Rhode Island public schools reportedly faced $300,000 in student lunch debt. However, the practice of singling out students who have unpaid lunch debt has received widespread criticism.

In 2017, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced a bill which would outlaw policies that publicize a student’s lunch debt. These practices can include making a student wear a special sticker or wristband, or providing cold sandwiches instead of the usual hot-meal offering.
 

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Babs

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Rhode Island sucks. The cost of living is outrageous. I know because I live here, but not for too much longer. Getting house prepped to sell and moving the hell out of this shit hole.
 

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Benighted

My brain hurts
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Nothing wrong with pb&j and milk. So sick of whiners.
Until the allergy kid comes along and the schoolhas a lawsuit on its hands.

I think the real problem though is that it makes it obvious to the other students who the "poor kids" are. Not all parents who can't afford school meals are shitty parents (yes, I know some are). We went through a period where I was working two jobs to pay the bills and was $12 a month over the limit for food services. I couldn't drop one of the jobs because then I couldn't make ends meet. She had a lot of PB sandwiches those few months. Kids are cruel. Mine gets ripped because we buy our clothes at Walmart, I can't imagine what being the kid who can't afford lunch would be like.
 

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Satanica

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Hell, I buy my clothes at Walmart. Why pay more for the same crap that is also made by slave labor in Asia. I hate people who look down on others!
 

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spiff

Professional cat spooner.
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I doubt these are actually poor parents, they're likely your basic irresponsible parents who won't bother to grab cash or can't convince their brats to save their lunch money for lunch. Still not kind to the kids, buuuuuuut I really doubt that most families can't squirrel away $2 a day if they actually try to. Food pantries and welfare are pretty well-funded in New England.

If you really can't afford food for your kids, food is given. Every public school I ever went to (graduated in 2005) had a free lunch program for families under a certain income level. The kids who "forgot" their money all the time were garden variety fuckups. I doubt RI is much different than Mass.

Edit: Warwick definitely has a free program for low income students. Not sure why it's such a tragedy to serve irresponsible families a boring lunch with basic nutrition.

https://www.nlappscloud.com/Welcome.aspx?api=11321ebc3c918917e8a790ca0581fc83#loaded
 
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