Cobb County

Cobb police officers wipe out school lunch debt for high school

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Police officers who protect our communities are also helping kids pay for their meals.

Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose learned nearly half of the student body Cobb County Schools relies on free or reduced lunches, and some families have racked up some debt.

Jose walked the lunch line at Pebblebook High School with Emily Hanlin, who is in charge of food and nutrition services for the Cobb County School District.

“Here’s the biggest thing about school nutrition: hungry kids can’t learn,” Hanlin said.

The district says 41% of its students qualify for free or reduced lunches. At Pebblebrook, the principal told Jose that number is at about 80%.


“We don’t want our students to ever feel like when they come to school, they can’t get a good meal. They can’t eat,” Pebblebrook principal Dana Giles said.

Cobb County officers and the Fraternal Order of Police realized the need.

Channel 2 Action News was there when they dropped off a $500 check to pay for lunches that were bought on credit at the high school.

It’s money that Giles said is needed because some families can’t pay back the money they owe.

“It not only wipes the slate clean for these students but it gets us back to a zero balance, so the next semester, if we’re having to give out free lunches, at least we’re not in the hole doing so,” Giles said.

Giles believes more students at Pebblebrook likely qualify for free or reduced lunches.

The woman who oversees the entire food operation for Cobb County schools told Jose she’s always looking for ways to help students.

“A lot of these kids, these are sometimes the only two meals they get in a day,” Hanlin said.

The FOP said the money they gave came from their inaugural Cops and Kids Golf Tournament, which raised more than $5,000.

They started with giving money to three schools in south Cobb County and hope to give funds to every school in the district.