Mother creates fundraiser to help Decatur students pay off unpaid lunch balances

DECATUR, Ga. — A mother who spoke out about the City of Decatur Schools making changes to its lunch program has set up a fundraiser to help students.

On Channel 2 Action News at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, Channel 2′s Audrey Washington told you about the district’s plan to offer cheese sandwiches to any student with unpaid lunch balances.

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The district told Washington the move would help bring down a nearly $90,000 unpaid lunch fee balance districtwide. Mother Jasmine Crowe-Houston told Washington the changes would have a bad effect on kids.

“It stigmatizes these students immediately,” she said. “And think about the shame that child is facing, and they’re hungry.”

Crowe-Houston, who also runs hunger solution organization called Goodr, told Washington she was working on a plan to pay off the district’s balance. So, she set up a GoFundMe page “Ensure Every Child Eats at Decatur City Schools.”

As of Thursday morning, she has raised more than $82,500 and counting.


In a statement, the district explained the change and called the cheese sandwich an “alternative meal.”

“The program offering meal grants and waivers ended in 2022, and public school districts resumed the regular practice of charging for meals. However, City Schools of Decatur permitted students to continue to receive regular-priced meals at no cost, even if they had a balance on their account. The unpaid lunch fees have resulted in a districtwide balance of $88,000.00, prompting a change in the meal payment procedure,” the district wrote.

According to City of Decatur Schools, the meal payment breaks down, in part, like this:

  • Middle and high school students will have a max of three charged meals equivalent to $10.50 per student for the year.
  • Elementary school students will have a max of three charged meals equivalent to $9.75 per student for the year.
  • Once the limits are reached, students will receive the alternative cheese sandwich and milk lunch until the balance is paid off.

The district spokesperson told Washington that students eligible for free or reduced lunch will not receive alternative meals.

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