Some students at an Idaho school district won’t have to worry about their lunch debt as they head into summer vacation.
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Chobani offered to pay off Twin Falls School District’s more than $85,000 lunch debt that accrued over the 2018-2019 school year. School officials said Wednesday the district is often forced to cover students’ lunch debt. This year, however, the Greek yogurt company, which has a plant in the Idaho town, found out about the debt and “wanted to relieve this burden to the community.”
“The generous donation will pay for the outstanding debts incurred during the 2018-19 school year. Families who had not paid off debt for the 2018-19 school year by June 11, 2019, will be receiving letters about their 2018-19 school lunch debt which has been paid thanks to Chobani,” the school district said in a news release Wednesday. “The district will be communicating over the summer regarding any remaining unpaid balances for other fees associated with the school district.”
Twin Falls School District serves about 5,600 lunches and 2,100 breakfast to students per day throughout the school year.
Chobani said in a statement to FOX Business on Thursday that part of its mission is to provide better food to communities.
“Better food for more people is our mission, and no one deserves that more than children. When we learned just how pervasive this issue is, we knew we needed to help raise awareness and eliminate this issue. Our communities are at the heart of everything we do, so we’re honored to do our part here in our backyard,” the company said in its statement.
The announcement comes a month after Chobani also offered to pay off the student lunch debt for Warwick Public Schools in Rhode Island. The district initially received backlash after officials announced it will start serving cold sandwiches instead of hot lunches to students who owe lunch money.
The district said it had about $77,000 in student lunch debt and couldn’t take on much more, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported. The Greek yogurt producer reportedly donated $47,650 to help diminish the debt.
Chobani CEO addressed the school's lunch debt on Twitter, saying it was heartbreaking to hear the news.
"As a parent, news of #WarwickPublicSchools breaks my heart. every child should have access to natural, nutritious & delicious food, so @Chobani is doing our small part to help pay this debt business must do its part.. our responsibility as members of community," he said in his video posted on Twitter.