Rebekah Miel wants to help Durham public school students in a big way this holiday season.
“There's so many issues facing the world right now. I think the very least we can do is make sure our kids get fed,” the mother of two tells Spectrum News.
Miel has started a GoFundMe page to help pay off portions of the school lunch debt at DPS. Hundreds of students have an outstanding balance, totaling thousands of dollars.
“There's a lot of expenses around the holidays and if it can ease that burden for a few families, that's wonderful,” Miel says.
Many quickly donated to the cause. Miel says her eventual goal is to pay off the entire school lunch debt at DPS, totaling more than $105,000.
“We also are trying to support students here with different ways of paying for lunch too so I was very excited to see that it has spread throughout the community,” says Principal Sarah Sanchez at Spring Valley Elementary.
Miel says donations will also eliminate “lunch shaming” for students who get alternative meals if they have an outstanding balance.
“Some schools, they pull the students aside and feed them last. Some schools put them in front. So there is a modest sense of shaming unfortunately,” says James Keaten, executive director of the School Nutrition Services.
But Keaten adds once the debt is paid off, it will rise again. Miel says she knows her effort is a short-term fix.
“The larger goal in all of this for me is to start a conversation about how to make sure this debt cycle doesn't continue year after year,” she says.
To visit the online fundraiser, click here.
This GoFundMe campaign is not managed by Spectrum News. For more information on how this website works and the rules, visit www.gofundme.com/safety.