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North Dakota man raises money for unpaid student lunch bills

August 4, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Bismarck photographer has launched a fundraiser that aims to collect money to address the $23,000 in unpaid meal debt in the city’s public school system.

Phillip Schultz’s Feed the Youth initiative will hold a free concert next month to help raise funds for Bismarck Public Schools, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“My family, we’ve received assistance in the past and it made a world of a difference,” Schultz said.

About half of the debt comes from children who receive free and reduced lunch. About 23 percent of students district-wide qualify for the federal lunch program.

Elementary school lunch costs $2.25, while lunch at middle and high schools cost $2.75. Reduced lunch costs 40 cents.

Michelle Wagner, director of district’s child nutrition department, said she appreciates the efforts to reduce the district’s unpaid lunch debt.

“I think it’s nice of him to take on this work with community to try to help us lower this debt,” she said.

Schultz said he doesn’t see the fundraising efforts as a long-term fix to the lunch funding issue, but hopes that it will help a little.

“As far as this being the almighty fix, I don’t know about that,” he said. “We just had to figure out something we can do for the meantime.”

Schultz is considering turning the initiative into a statewide organization.

“There’s so much opportunity to do good here, I think it would just be foolish to walk away from it,” he said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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