Parent raises $2,500 to help pay off school lunch debt at Carolina Forest Elementary School

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:04 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – One parent rallied a community together to make sure students at Carolina Forest Elementary School won’t go hungry.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA provided all elementary, middle and high school students free breakfasts and lunches through a special program for the past two years.

But that program has since expired, which requires families to purchase the meals that some can’t afford.

Daily lunch at the elementary school costs $2.70 per day or $13.50 per week.

Last week, the Carolina Forest Elementary School Cafeteria Facebook page posted that it would start offering alternative meals to those who owe $20 or more. An alternative meal is when a student just receives a sandwich and juice.

Tommy Perkins, who has a child at Carolina Forest Elementary School, reposted the information and reached out to friends and other parents for help.

“It started out really small. I said I am going to donate a little money myself, and then I said I have a bunch of friends, let me reach out to them and see if they want to donate a couple dollars here. It kind of blew up from there,” said Perkins.

He has raised $2,500 to help wipe out the school lunch debt.

Horry County School District Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier is encouraging all families to apply for the free or reduced-priced meals.

“Even throughout the school year, if by chance your financial situation has changed, those applications can be filled out and analyzed at any time of the year,” said Bourcier.

Perkins said he is working on another fundraiser.

“I really want to keep this going, there are so many people willing to help out,” said Perkins.

The district is grateful for the community support.

“We are extremely grateful for our community members and parents, that go above and beyond by collecting donations to help pay for school lunch debt,” said Bourcier.

CLICK HERE to fill out an application for free or reduced-priced meals.