The student lunch debt crisis has been pushed to the forefront of a national conversation. Research shows that 75 percent of school districts throughout the country have unpaid student meal debt and many of the students who are unable to pay off their debt are ostracized and prevented from participating in school events, including graduation. NFL player Richard Sherman is on a mission to alleviate the issue and relieve some of the financial pressures faced by students and their families. According to People, he made a major donation to eliminate student lunch debt at the Santa Clara, California-based Cabrillo Middle School.
The Compton native donated over $7,000 to the school to get rid of the debt. He made the donation through his organization The Blanket Coverage Foundation which works to financially support and empower students who come from low-income households so they can excel in the classroom. “We have found that eliminating student lunch debt is one way to help assist students and their families in relieving some of the stress that comes with attending school on a daily basis,” read a statement from Sherman’s organization. “The last thing any child should have to worry about is being able to afford eating breakfast and lunch at school; we aim to do our part in eliminating that obstacle.”
The generous act comes after the San Francisco 49ers cornerback donated $20,000 to eliminate the lunch debt at Tacoma Public Schools in Washington. Donations like the one made by Sherman are needed as the lunch debt crisis continues to grow. According to CNN, despite the United States Department of Agriculture allocating over $22 billion annually for child nutrition programs, schools are barred from using federal funds to pay off meal debt.