Public schools

Chobani and GoFundMe Wipe Lunch Debts in School District That Planned To 'Lunch Shame' Students

Public schools in Warwick, Rhode Island, originally said that every student with lunch debts would be served a cold jelly sandwich.

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If you were a kid with a lunch debt in Warwick, Rhode Island, the public schools planned to serve you a cold sun butter and jelly sandwich.

Such tactics, often called lunch shaming, aren't unique to Warwick. Several schools around the country require kids without money for their meals—including those on the free/reduced lunch program—to be publicly marked with special wristbands or otherwise singled out for negative attention.

A Warwick restauranteur, Angelica Penta, raised $4,000 in donations to reduce the kids' debts, but the school system refused to take the money. Since the check wasn't enough to cover the entire balance—a whopping $77,000—officials wouldn't accept it at all, saying they couldn't choose which students would have their debts erased. They instead suggested that Penta set up a program where students could apply to have their accounts reduced or expunged.

"Every idea I had got shut down," Penta tells the local NBC affiliate.

Fortunately for the students, the CEO of Chobani announced this week that his yogurt company will donate another $47,460 to the cause. The remainder will come from a GoFundMe started by Cait Clement, who lives down the street from Penta.

"It's kind of crazy how two moms who just couldn't fathom kids going hungry just kind of, you know, in two different platforms, are making it happen," Clement tells Newsweek. "I never ever thought it would go this far."

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69 responses to “Chobani and GoFundMe Wipe Lunch Debts in School District That Planned To 'Lunch Shame' Students

  1. The public education system isn’t set up for outside the box thinking.

    1. I’d settle for just regular thinking.

    2. Most kids like cold jelly sandwiches. Which actually sounds really good after valuing some primo sativa.

  2. If you were a kid with a lunch debt in Warwick, Rhode Island, the public schools planned to serve you a cold sun butter and jelly sandwich.

    Sun butter? I don’t know what that is, but it sounds kind of awesome.

    1. Sunflower seed butter.

      1. Never heard of it. More processed food? Give me the real stuff in moderation of course.

        1. Unless you’re eating it off the bush most food is processed.

        2. No peanut butter allowed. Because allergies, apparently.

    2. *cold sun*, son. As in, 6-10-20 billion years from now.

  3. From the article:

    “The Warwick, Rhode Island school system had previously said that students who owed a balance on their account, regardless of their enrollment in the free or reduced lunch program, would be limited to a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich, a carton of milk, the vegetable of the day and a piece of fruit until the student’s balance had been paid or a payment plan had been established between a parent or guardian and the school district.”

    Seems like a pretty reasonable policy to me. I’m not sure how it qualifies as “shaming”, whatever that means. The reporting on this is pretty misleading.

    1. Not enough free shit, I guess.

      1. In Warwick. This ain’t exactly Blackwater, AZ.

    2. Do you not remember how evil kids can be over difference? Don’t get me wrong, those little bastards would find something else to make fun of the poor kids over but this does signal them out.

      But kudos for the school not settling for a mere pittance of what they are owed. And good for Chobani for stepping up and helping them.

      1. For sure, good on private donors for stepping up; I’m not criticizing that at all.

        I do remember how cruel kids can be. I was on free or reduced lunches for most of my childhood. I remember feeling embarrassed about clothes, my house, etc. I’m not complaining about my childhood at all though. It shaped me into who I am now, and presented me with all kinds of opportunities to learn the value of hard work and delayed gratification. From an early age, I threw papers, mowed lawns, and swept floors so that I could buy things like cafeteria a la carte food, new basketball shoes, or movie tickets.

        I don’t think that sheltering kids from the realities of economics is beneficial for the kids themselves, or society as a whole.

        1. “From an early age, I threw papers, mowed lawns, and swept floors so that I could buy things like cafeteria a la carte food, new basketball shoes, or movie tickets.”

          I agree with what you said… If you tried to do these things today, though, HOW MANY min-wage and child-labor laws would you violate? Not to mention mandatory health insurance laws? MUST carry the mandatory health insurance policies covering alien abduction therapy, aromatherapy, Scientology therapy, addiction therapy, sex change therapy, species change therapy, enrich-my-uncle-the- hypnotist therapy, past-lives regression therapy, sex addiction therapy, love-your-Government -Almighty relationship therapy, therapy-therapy, and on and on…

          1. Kids do seem to work less than they did twenty years ago. Kids’ paper routes are mostly a thing of the past, but I think that’s mostly a result of the web. I hardly ever see a kid pushing a mower now days, not sure why that is. The schools still hire sweeper boys to help the custodians, but only high schoolers, not 11 year olds like when I was doing it; that one is probably gov regulations. I used to run a couple of grain terminals, and we would hire a lot of temp workers for harvest. “Child” labor regulations were such a pain that we just had an 18+ policy for hiring. Too bad too, there were a lot of eager high schoolers that we really could have used; we were almost always short handed.I

            My kids are still very young, but I’ll be damn sure they know how to work.

            1. “I hardly ever see a kid pushing a mower now days, not sure why that is.”

              I did that for neighbors. I wouldn’t hire a kid to do that today because of the risk of liability. If the kid runs his own mower over his own foot while he’s mowing your lawn on your property, not only might his parents come after you with a lawsuit, the local police may come after you for violating child labor laws, who knows what . . .

              Why risk it?

              1. I would pay a kid if they offered to do yard work for me at a reasonable price. The risk of injury is pretty low, and that’s what homeowners liability insurance is for anyway. To me, it’s worth the risk of increased premiums to foster independence and entrepreneurial spirit in an industrious youth.

    3. What kind of person wants to punish a child for having losers, or poor people, for parents?

      Other than a lousy person society should disregard, I mean.

      1. What kind of person

        Libertarians Republicans.

      2. Who’s being punished in this situation? The child/guardian has a negative account balance, but they still get a full, healthy, balanced meal. That’s my point. The reporting leads people to believe that poor children are being singled out with bread and jam as a pittance while they go hungry. Read further into it and that’s clearly not the case.

        If you think I’m a lousy person, then fine, you’re entitled to your opinion. It’s not my place to judge you or anyone else; so I won’t. Probably mutually beneficial if we go ahead and just disregard each other though.

  4. >>>Several schools around the country require kids … to be publicly marked with special wristbands or otherwise singled out for negative attention.

    lie to me. c’mon they do not.

  5. So basically the lunch shaming worked.

  6. My daughter would kill for a jelly sandwich.

  7. “lunch shaming”

    My God, the horrors this generation has witnessed

  8. “Public schools in Warwick, Rhode Island, originally said that every student with lunch debts would be served a cold jelly sandwich.”

    The second offense is a public flogging.
    The third offense is life without parole.
    At least RI doesn’t have the death penalty.

  9. I’m surprised they didn’t just go ahead and give bread and butter to *all* the children. That would be the egalitarian thing to do.

    /sarc

  10. I was going to make a joke about Milton Friedman rolling over in his grave, but I checked Find A Grave and it says he was cremated and his ashes scattered San Francisco Bay.

    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/16673483/milton-friedman

  11. Am I supposed to feel sorry for the kids of parents who don’t pay for their own lunches?

    Fuck you, cut spending!

    I guess we should be shaming the parents of kids who foist their kids off on public schools. Make the parents wear fucking bracelets on their wrists. Extend that to the SNAP program, rent subsidies, Medicaid, the whole nine yards. Yeah, if you’re an idiot scumbag who had children you can’t afford to raise properly, it should be publicly humiliating–at the very least. In a better world, those parents would have their wages garnished until they reimbursed the taxpayers for everything they owe us for feeding their fucking children.

    God damn. It’s not bad enough that I have to pay to educate your kids for you–I have to feed them, too, and save you from the threat of embarrassment for it?

    Fuck you. People who have children they can’t afford to feed are shit eating scumbags.

    Pay for your own children. Leave me out of it.

    1. In this case, people used their own money…and perhaps even relieved the taxpayers of some of their burden.

      1. I find it outrageous that kids were being given jelly sandwiches courtesy of the taxpayer.

        Other people seem to think it’s outrageous that kids aren’t getting something even better for free.

        We have self-described socialists running for president in this country, one of whom, last I checked, was leading in the polls to win the Democrat primary in New Hampshire.

        When you read the article above, do you see any indication that the author understands what libertarian capitalism is all about?

        1. If kids don’t eat, they can’t concentrate enough to learn. They are more likely to disrupt class. You can get upset about taxpayer funded food, or you can get upset about bureaucracy blindly going through the motions despite complete inefficacy.

          1. Wait till Ken finds out that he “has to pay” to repave the roads:

            “Fuck you. Pay for your own roads. Leave me out of it.”

            1. You seem to be missing the difference between elected representatives, who are accountable to voting taxpayers, making decisions about how to spend our tax money and unaccountable and irresponsible individuals choosing to have children they can’t afford to raise properly–and sticking the rest of us with the bill.

              Some socialist societies will sometimes try to limit the number of children people can have to alleviate this problem. Others might starve off their excess population periodically or send people to death camps. A libertarian capitalist society would remove the moral hazard. It’s encouraging poor people to have children they can’t afford that’s fucking mean.

          2. “If kids don’t eat, they can’t concentrate enough to learn. They are more likely to disrupt class. You can get upset about taxpayer funded food, or you can get upset about bureaucracy blindly going through the motions despite complete inefficacy.”

            We have an “obesity epidemic” in this country, and the poor are hurt the worst. It’s no surprise that refugees in other countries want to come to a country where the poor people are too fat.

            Is there a country anywhere else in the world where people spend a smaller share of their income on food than the USA?

            The correct answer is “no”.

            https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/this-map-shows-how-much-each-country-spends-on-food/

            I also think you’re missing the point that these schools are blindly going through the motions because they’re controlled by bureaucracy and elected officials rather than tuition paying parents and the profit motive. Government bureaucracy can never be as responsive to parents or children as a business is to its customers.

            Private schools that charge tuition do a better job of educating students for that reason alone–even when the schools are run by organizations that teach children things like creationism. There is no good reason why school districts that are funded by property taxes (either directly from the owner or indirectly through renters) couldn’t be financed by charging parents tuition instead.

            There isn’t a good reason why parents who don’t pay tuition shouldn’t have their wages garnished to pay for it–just like deadbeat dads who don’t pay child support. There should be severe consequences for having children you can’t afford to raise properly.

    2. and get off muh lawn, too, amirite?

      1. “Get off my lawn” is something old men yell at kids.

        I’m yelling at their parents, not their kids, and I’ve been yelling the same thing since I was 16 years old.

        At 16, however, I was working my way through a prep school. Don’t think that’s unusual. My parents and grandparents went to the same school, and you weren’t allowed to not have a job. People who are too pathetic to take care of themselves and their children rank somewhere lower than wild animals. They think like parasites. They are parasites.

        1. A guide to raising a self-supporting family:

          Step 1: Gain control of enough terrieory to feed and shelter a family through farming.

          Step 2: Find a wife and *giggigy giggigy*

          Step 3: Raise the kids with the understanding that the neighbors are a bunch of Canninites who spend too much on foolish teachers.

          Step 4: Rinse and repeat for centuries until the results show which education method is best.

          1. I don’t think a family needs to be self-sustaining in terms of growing their own food.

            Feel free to work a 9-5 and buy food for your children from farmers. Why do I have to pay the bill?

    3. People who oppose public education are lousy people who deserve to be disregarded and disdained by their betters.

      1. Again, you’re always going after the people who say these things rather than their ideas. I suspect it’s because you can’t go after the ideas. You’re incapable.

        People who feed off the productive labor of others are parasites.

        People who fail to take care of their own children are pathetic.

        Amazonian tribes that have never been contacted by the modern world are more evolved than that. Maybe that’s because they’ve never been exposed to socialism.

  12. NYT *shocked* that people prefer not to pay taxes!

    “They Got Rich Off Uber and Lyft. Then They Moved to Low-Tax States.”
    […]
    “AUSTIN, Tex. — Brian McMullen’s only plan on a Thursday afternoon in March was to watch as many college basketball games as possible. Parked inside his neighborhood bar and grill and eating brunch tacos, he followed one game on the restaurant’s TV screen while another streamed on his iPhone.
    As the games played out, Mr. McMullen talked about his new life in Austin, Tex., where he had moved last October from San Francisco…”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/technology/uber-lyft-low-tax-millennials.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    You guys in Austin better hope he didn’t bring his lefty politics…

    1. Austin already has lefty politics.

      Realtors in SF are salivating over all the new Uber, Lyft and other IPO millionaires driving up home prices again. They’re not counting on them retiring early, and moving to lower cost states.

      1. I just ran Austin vs. NYC through a tax calculator on $91,000 a year in income. NYC is about 30%. Austin is about 20%.

        I don’t think that’s the biggest difference. The cost of living is almost 80% higher in NYC.

        The average home price according to Zillow in Austin is $368,800. The average price for a home in NYC is $681,600.

        The big difference is that you can get a palace for $681,000 in Austin. A safe palace with good schools your kid can get into, too.

        1. Over at the WSJ, they’ll post a listing of the day, every day during the week. Every week, they usually post the same kind of stuff. One day is an apartment in NYC. One day, the house is on a beach somewhere. One day, they’ll have a ranch or cabin with a bunch of land somewhere. One day, they’ll have an historic house or an ultra modern house somewhere else in the country. The prices typically range from from a few million to $20 million plus in NYC. People vote on which ones they like the best on Friday. Hardly anybody picks the apartment in NYC.

          A $20 million apartment in NYC has a terrace with a view of Central Park. Other than that, it’s pretty much like a $450,000 house anywhere else in the country.

          1. Yes living in what is considered the greatest city in human history is just like living in the sticks in Idaho.

            1. You’re right. They’re not the same at all.

              I’d much rather live in Couer d’Alene.

          2. “A $20 million apartment in NYC has a terrace with a view of Central Park. Other than that, it’s pretty much like a $450,000 house anywhere else in the country.”

            I sometimes forget there are people who genuinely think like this.

            1. Are you saying I’m wrong?

              NYC is a shit hole with great delis–no matter what kind of person I am.

            2. The median size of a home in the U.S. is about 2,500 square feet, and the median price of a home is $226,700 or about $91 a square foot. At that PSF price, $450,000 will get almost 5,000 square feet–which is huge.

              How much is a 5,000 square foot condo in Manhattan? The median size of a condo/apartment in Manhattan is 703 square feet, and the median price of a home is $1,322,100.

              https://www.zillow.com/new-york-ny/home-values/

              If we’re estimating prices per square foot, that means Manhattan is clocking in at around $1,880 a square foot, and a 2,500 square foot condo would cost you upwards of $4.7 million. 5,000 square feet will take you to $9.4 million.

              Even in a relatively expensive market like San Diego, they’re clocking in at $470 a square foot.

              If you imagine that the quality of the restaurants, museums, and educational institutions in New York is sufficiently superior to live in an overpriced shit hole instead of San Diego, then good for you. Family who lived in NYC say you forget after a while that the rest of the country isn’t a shit hole. I understand if you work on Wall Street, the Fashion industry, or Broadway–there isn’t really anywhere else to go for that. Otherwise, there are fine restaurants, museums, and culture all over this country–and some of those places have the added benefit of not being shit holes.

            3. I don’t think that Reverend. I think living with a terrace view of a few acres of man made landscaping is a very sad substitute for having a beautiful natural world to look at. For 450K I could buy myself a decent size house with a some outbuildings and land that borders BLM land out west and have an awesome life. For 450K in NYC, you would be living in ghetto with a view of the junkies shooting up and crapping on the street.

  13. Who’s giving them lunch credit in the first place?
    All my lunches were cold jelly sandwiches.

    1. You sponger, when I was a kid they had a park outside where you hunted boar with spears and if you were too much of a wuss to risk getting gored to death by the boar, you went hungry. And you had to wear a placard around your neck reading “He Values Life More Than Honor.”

      1. Dude, I don’t have phone coverage in Israel, but I do have wi-fi. That means email access but no voicemail or texting. Please email me a status update. I thought you were still in the psych ward.

  14. “…serve you a cold sun butter and jelly sandwich.”

    You’d prefer a hot sun butter and jelly sandwich?

    1. Grilled PBJ sandwiches are pretty good actually

    2. My kid ate a cold PB & J every day for lunch for 6 years. By choice.
      Child abuse!

  15. This is punishment? For 6 years, from grade 7 through grade 12, my lunch was a cold peanut butter and jelly sandwitch and a warm bottle of tonic water. I was raised on Brittish cooking and Jewish music videos. No wonder my Mother’s Day is complicated.

  16. For goodness’ sake, what in the world is wrong with the school insisting that parents pay for their children’s lunches? This isn’t about shaming, this is about paying what you owe. The school administration provided a hot lunch to the children in good faith, it had every right to insist that parents pay the money back. And jelly sandwiches are delicious, by the way. It was my favorite lunchwhen I was a kid.

    1. It must be challenging to interact with modern society while thinking that way.

    2. Are you really in Tel Aviv?

      I am so jealous.

      Been there once for a few days.

  17. How do you owe money on the free lunch program?

    1. TANSTAAFL

  18. I’m old. I collected bottles from the side of the road in my little wagon for $.05 or $.10 for big bottles. I collected newspapers and sold them to a recycler for $.10/ 100 lbs. in addition to delivering. Our school lunches were $.30, cash or token. I was known to have coated pennies with mercury to “fool”the old ladies a the cash register. If these families or kids do nothing worthwhile for others they will always be looking for freebies and going hungry. At the same time a couple of caring ladies and Chobani stepped up big time as a non- gov’t agency.

  19. I hate to sound heartless and cruel, and I also hate to be one of those “back when I was a kid” people, but honestly when you didn’t have lunch money you didn’t get lunch. Your friends might have chipped in and shared theirs with you, or you skipped lunch that day and chowed down at 3 pm when you got home. You told your mom and she was so embarrassed that she made sure to send you in with lunch money the next day.
    There are programs for kids whose parents really and truly can’t afford to buy them lunch. I would venture to guess the vast majority of these debts are due to laziness or forgetfulness, not poverty.

  20. The median income of Warwick is $62,803.

    If parents can’t afford the 39 cents to send their kids to school with a sandwich and an apple, they shouldn’t be having kids in the first place.

  21. I don’t think anyone’s getting this.

    These kids aren’t owing money on the free lunch program.

    They’re not owing money because they ran up a tab getting lunch.

    They’re owing money because they got extra stuff–another slice of cafeteria pizza, a second order of fries, chocolate milk, ice cream, that kinda thing. Why, there’s a good chance that part of the kids debt comes from purchasing tiny, school sized portions of Chobani yogurt.

    How is it that Reason so often these days comes down so often on not just the wrong side of issues, but the side most obviously manipulated by leftists for maximum leftist outrage?

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