Two dads join forces to launch campaign to pay off school lunch debt

Two Valley dads have launched a campaign to help students avoid the embarrassment of not being able to pay for their school lunches. It's a random act of kindness, and they're asking other people to help out, if they can.

In the Alhambra Elementary School District, a school lunch costs $2.60. It may not sound like a lot to many, but for families in the neighborhood, it can be a huge burden.

"The majority of our families live below the poverty level," said Linda Jeffries with the Alhambra Elementary School District. "They also might have more than one child. That can be expensive."

92% of students in the district receive free or reduced lunches. Still, many kids can't pay the full or reduced price. The district will give kids a substitute meal if they have no money. In 2016 alone, the district gave away 35,000 meals.

Omar Lopez attended the district, during his childhood.

"I saw all of it," said Lopez. "I saw kids that would think it's cool to not eat, but I knew their situation. I knew they couldn't afford it."

Lopez, along with his friend Raul Ramirez, were inspired to create a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay off school lunch debts in the school district.

"We at least want to reach the $10,000 goal," said Ramirez. "Even a $5 donation helps. That helps feed a child for breakfast and lunch."

The random gesture of kindness and generosity took school district officials by surprise.

"I've worked in the Alhambra School District for more than 23 years, and this is the first time we've ever received a call from a community member who just wanted to give back to the school district they attended," said Jeffries.

The dads hope the kids who will receive the donations will learn a lesson in kindness and goodwill.

"To let them know they're not alone," said Lopez. "People do care. Always pay it forward."

#NoLunchMoney fundraiser for Alhambra Elementary School District