Lunch shaming be gone: Church pays off Barrington district’s debt
BARRINGTON — Another church has come forward to pay off a school district's lunch debt.
The issue of what a district should do when lunch bills go unpaid by parents came to light when the Cherry Hill school district created a policy that provided a tuna salad for students whose accounts were in arrears. Critics called the practice "lunch shaming" and pulled the district into the national spotlight.
Cherry Hill was also criticized for turning down offers from individuals and groups that wanted to pay off the debt. Steven Ravitz, the owner of five South Jersey ShopRite stores, said he was ignored when he offered to pay Cherry Hill's $14,000+ debt, according to the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.
Offers to help in other districts were accepted.
Liquid Church took up a special offering to take care of the lunch debt of 1,500 families in Roselle, Sayreville, Somerville, Nutley and Parsippany.
About $9,000 was raised by the Lacey Township Chatter Facebook group via a GoFundMe page to erase that district's debt in December.
The Grace Bible Church in Barrington is the latest church to step forward after the congregation met a challenge from Pastor Shane Colwell on Christmas Eve and raised $2,000 to take care of Barrington's lunch debt. The extra amount will be put toward future debt.
Colwell told the Cherry Hill Courier-Post he understands the struggles families may have that might prevent them from paying their school lunch bill.