Campaign raises funds to help pay off City Schools of Decatur’s lunch debt

A parent with a child who attends a City Schools of Decatur (CSD) school has helped raise more than $36,000 toward the school district’s lunch debt in an effort to prevent students who do not have enough money from getting a less nutritious lunch than their peers.

Jasmine Crowe-Houston said that she was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign – titled Ensure Every Child Eats at City Schools of Decatur – after seeing a tweet from Decaturish about CSD’s plans to give students a cheese sandwich and milk if they miss three payments. School lunch for CSD students who are not on the reduced-price plan ranges from $3.25 to $3.50 per meal, according to CSD’s website.

“I created this GoFundMe with a heartfelt plea to ask for support ensuring that every child at (CSD) can enjoy their meals with dignity,” said Crowe-Houston. “Recently, I learned on Twitter/X that the school district planned to serve cheese sandwiches to students with unpaid meal account balances.”

Crowe-Houston set her goal for the fundraiser to $80,000 after Zoe Seiler’s reporting for Decaturish revealed the school district has incurred a balance of about $88,000 in unpaid meal charges.

Crowe-Houston’s campaign has received more than $36,000 in donations from more than 700 donors in 24 hours.

Many of the donors leaving comments on the campaigns share Crowe-Houston’s concerns about students being treated unfairly.

“This practice can be embarrassing and stigmatizing for the kids, affecting their self-esteem and overall well-being,” said Crowe-Houston. “No child should ever go hungry or be subjected to unnecessary embarrassment due to financial constraints. I believe that every child deserves a full, nutritious meal to fuel their bodies and minds for a successful day of learning.”

Officials with GoFundMe said they are seeing more campaigns on their website than ever before to raise money for school lunch debts.

“Jasmine Crowe-Houston’s efforts to take action and help students enjoy their meals with dignity is a prime example of organizers turning to GoFundMe to support parents and students in their community,” said GoFundMe Communications Manager Brian Hill. “In 2023, fundraisers started for lunch debt increased significantly on GoFundMe, as reported in our Year in Help report.”

Crowe-Houston said all donations through her campaign will go directly toward paying off CSD’s lunch debt – and no donation is too small.

“Each donation, no matter the size, will contribute to creating a positive and inclusive environment at City Schools of Decatur,” said Crowe-Houston. “Let’s unite and show these kids that they are valued and deserving of the same opportunities as their classmates. Together, we can make a significant impact on their lives and help them focus on their education without the worry of meal account balances.”

For more information and to donate to the fundraiser, visit


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