Full Bellies = Sharp Minds

For: Students with Meal Debts in VA 7th District
Richmond, VA
Organizer: www.va7thdistrict.com
Full Bellies = Sharp Minds (Students with Meal Debts in VA 7th District)
$6,497
of $5,000 goal.
Raised by 136 donors
100% Complete

The Story

Hundreds of low-income students right in our back yards have meal debts they cannot pay at their school cafeterias. As a result, they receive less nutritious, alternate meals that cause embarrassment in front of their peers. It stigmatizes poor students through no fault of their own. In Henrico County alone, full priced lunch and breakfast cost $2.70/$1.50 and reduced meals cost $0.40/$0.30 and there is over $18,000 in meal debt! 

We aim to alleviate the meal debt in some of the most impoverished schools. Supporting public education and our most at-risk children is a sound economic decision that will improve the lives of us all. Every penny given to this campaign will be sent to the schools with the greatest percentage of students receiving free and reduced meals. Attention will also be given to high schools, where just a $5.40 debt means a student won't get to walk at graduation.

Here is the percentage of students receiving free/reduced lunch in Virginia's 7th Congressional District: 

Amelia County - 822 students or 45.67% students 
Chesterfield County - 18,569 students or 30.11% students
Culpeper County - 3,657 students or 44.71% of students
Goochland County - 680 students or 26.05% of students
Henrico County - 20,792 students or 40.63% of students
Louisa County - 2,141 students or 44.31% of students
Nottoway County - 1,341 students or 61.74% of students
Orange County - 2,229 students or 43.99% of students
Powhatan County - 727 students or 16.72% of students
Spotsylvania County - 9,192 students or 39.08% of students

Here's the impact of a small donation:
  • $5 pays off2 full-priced or 12 reduced-cost breakfast loans
  • $10 pays off3 full-priced or 25 reduced-cost lunch loans
  • $15 pays off5 full-priced or 37 reduced-cost lunch loans 
  • $25 pays off 9 full-priced or 62 reduced-cost lunch loans
  • $50 pays off18 full-priced or 125 reduced-cost breakfast loans
  • $100 pays off37 full-priced or 250 reduced-cost lunch loans
We know, thanks to an incredibly generous kickoff donation, that $400 paid off the total meal debts in Nottoway County--the entire County! That's hundreds of lives impacted! 

So, please give generously this week to support children across Virginia's 7th District. And, once this campaign is complete, consider ongoing support to the school cafeteria near you. Every school in every county needs your support.

“Children shouldn’t be made to go the day without any lunch because of their parent’s action … it’s the child who suffers the consequences.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/02/unpaid-school-lunch-bills/460509/

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 15, 2017

Posted on May 15, 2017

Thank you for the generous gifts to Full Bellies = Sharp Minds. With your help we raised nearly $6500 to help pay off student meal debt in VA's 7th Congressional District. We are very excited to be delivering our gifts to school districts this week to ensure that every Senior gets to fully participate in graduation. We are eliminating the school debt entirely in at least 3 of the 10 counties in Virginia's 7th Congressional District and the thanks from schools is tremendous. We hope that the message of hope spreads through communities through our positive campaigns and that public schools and families feel our love and support. We must protect our public schools from state and national-level legislation that threaten their success and we must ensure that every child has the access to resources needed to achieve his or her best. Again, tremendous thanks for your support.
Very sincerely,
Chrystal Doyle, Organizer & Advocate
VA 7th District Concerned Citizens

Posted on May 3, 2017

Posted on May 3, 2017

We're wrapping up this concerned citizen driven campaign to pay off public school meal debt and appreciate any last-minute gifts. We should know by the end of the week if we've raised enough to pay off the debts for graduating Seniors across VA's 7th Congressional District. Unfortunately, we're far short of the approx. $80,000 in total meal debt. $80,000. Shows how great the need and how far we have to come. More about this story came out today in the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/well/family/lunch-shaming-children-parents-school-bills.html?partner=IFTTT&_r=0

Posted on April 7, 2017

Posted on April 7, 2017

Giving to Full Bellies = Sharp Minds is such a powerful way to let children and families know that you value them regardless of their socioeconomic status--value them as people, as members of our community, as worthwhile and important. This campaign directly addresses the burden of hunger felt by school children. Donations will enable high school Seniors to walk at graduation--honor, pride, and accomplishment are such lasting gifts. It's hard to believe that $5.40 can prevent the realization of a dream for many students. But, not this year! I am overwhelmed by the giving and feel confident we can reach $5000 by the end of the April--just in time to relieve meal debts for graduation. It would be amazing to do more--to eliminate debts across entire counties! I estimate there's about $80,000 in school meal debt in the 7th District alone--a number that grossly under-estimates the true cost of hunger because many schools cap the debt a student can incur. Hunger is real. Food insecurity is real. It's in our neighborhoods and it may even be next door. Unless you're standing behind the one at the register who gets her entree replaced with a cheese sandwich, you might never know. Other states have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through the power of social media, specifically Twitter. Unfortunately, I don't have a massive Twitter following, but maybe you know someone who does who can help spread the word? VA 7th District Concerned Citizens will keep this campaign going through the end of April. Let's spread the word and spread the love. And, the knowledge. Children who eat perform better at school...all children deserve the opportunity to excel. 

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