Local restaurants help pay off lunch debts at some Horry County schools

There have been stories of kids reaching the end of the lunch line and having their hot lunches...
There have been stories of kids reaching the end of the lunch line and having their hot lunches thrown away and replaced with cold ones.(kauz)
Updated: Dec. 4, 2019 at 7:36 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Two local restaurants are making sure students don’t have to worry about their school lunch debts.

The Carolina Forest Elementary School Cafeteria Facebook page announced that the owner of Handley’s Pub and Grub paid off the school’s lunch debt on Wednesday.

The owner asked for donations to help pay off the school lunch debts and then gave the school a check for $1,800.

“Any student who owed money, your debt has been paid in full,” the Facebook post states.

Crabby Mike’s donated $1,400 to Saint James Intermediate School to help pay off the lunch debt. The money was raised by servers who donated a night of tips, which owner Mike Arakas matched.

Saint James Intermediate School shared the money with Burgess and Saint James elementary schools to pay toward their lunch debts.

The issue of school lunch debt has become a national conversation.

Back in August, WMBF News reported that Horry County students owe the district $57,808 for school lunches, according to data for the 2018-2019 school year.

Horry County Schools said the amount of debt does not alarm the school district and added that other school districts of similar size have around $270,000 in debt from unpaid lunches.

District officials said the deficit doesn’t impact daily operations.

Currently, there is no real consequence for students who don’t pay off their debt until they are seniors. Unpaid school lunches transfer from school to school with the student until they graduate. Students are unable to walk at graduation if they don’t pay it off.

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