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Restaurants, community band together to eliminate lunch debt at Horry County schools

Updated: Dec. 11, 2019 at 9:05 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - From local businesses to a family honoring a loved one’s legacy, numerous donations have been made this holiday season to help pay off the student lunch debt at Horry County schools.

School lunch debts have become an issue across the nation. Horry County Schools has more than $94,000 in student lunch debt.

Bistro 90 owner Roland Sciotto has partnered with local restaurants to help chip away at that $94,000. As a business owner who thrives off the generosity of locals, this is their way of giving back this holiday season.

“We want to be able to help the community as much as possible,” said Sciotto.

Earlier this week, Main Slice in North Myrtle Beach donated more than $10,000 to several elementary schools in Horry County.

Lisa Bourcier, a spokesperson for Horry County Schools, said all students receive a meal whether they have a debt or not and these donations really take the burden off students and their families.

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“This season has been truly amazing. We’re a very giving community and when we do have needs we certainly see people step up,” said Bourcier.

Susan French is also looking to give back to kids at Lakewood Elementary, whose student lunch debt is nearly $7,500.

As a mother herself, she said the donation is a way of honoring her brother who passed away in October.

“My kids are only in third and fourth grade and told me that so-and-so did not have a lunch or they only had a small snack because they didn’t have anything else so I gave them mine and went to grab a snack,” said French.

Day-to-day lunch prices are $2.60 and reduced lunches are .40 cents per meal but that debt adds up.

“That debt stays with them all throughout their time within Horry County Schools,” said Bourcier, who added that all students receive a meal whether they have a debt or not.

French started a GoFundMe page in the hopes that others throughout the community can help out this holiday season.

“Lakewood has one of the highest debts in the district, it’s more than $7,000,” French said.

In recent weeks, Horry County Schools has received donations from restaurants like Handley’s Pub and Grub who paid off the lunch debt at Carolina Forest Elementary School.

Crabby Mike’s also gifted $1,400 to Saint James Intermediate School after servers donated a night’s worth of tips, which was matched by the owner.

While to some a $2.00 lunch can be taken for granted, Roland wants to make sure no student is left hungry this holiday season.

“To know they’re getting a hot meal at school compared to a cold one, parents have enough to worry about these days,” said Roland.

Bistro 90 and Main Slice in North Myrtle Beach will be collecting donations through the end of the year.

You can also donate to Susan’s GoFundMe page for Lakewood Elementary by clicking here.

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