Still at it: ‘School Lunch Debt Dad' hands Renton SD $14k check

The Seattle dad who raised money to pay off school lunch debt around the state has helped raise thousands of dollars for another local school district.

Jeffery Lew posted on Twitter Monday that he presented a check for $14,406.03 to the Renton School District's superintendent to help pay off some of their school lunch debt. Lew had set up a GoFundMe account for the school district in 2017.

A district spokesperson told KIRO 7 the money will pay for “about half of the outstanding lunch balances.” Exact numbers were not immediately available.

Lew has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars to clear student lunch debt.

In 2017, Lew helped raise more than $21,000 to erase all lunch debt for Seattle Public Schools. The campaign, that singer John Legend  supported with a $5,000 donation, eventually raised more than $50,000.

Lew also helped raise money for lunch debt in Tacoma and Spokane schools. Earlier this year he started a GoFundMe account to help raise money to feed federal workers during the partial government shutdown.

"I won't stop until we find that permanent solution,” said Jeffery Lew in an interview with KIRO 7.

Washington state law now bans "lunch shaming." KIRO 7 has spoken with school districts that said the law has led to an increase in school lunch debt.

"Banning lunch shaming is good progress but it's not an ideal solution,” said Lew.

Lew advocates for school districts to serve meals at no cost to students to end lunch debt and shaming.

"Fundraising is not a solution—it's like a band aid, band aids come off,” said Lew. “Once this money is paid, lunch debt will continue."

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