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Raising money to end school lunch debt in Rochester

Blaise Keller
Updated: February 17, 2020 10:43 PM
Created: February 17, 2020 08:10 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s a problem that many might not think about, but its impacts affect the youngest in our community - the children.

One woman from Rochester, who knows the situation all too well, is on a mission to eliminate this issue for all who go to Rochester Public Schools.
 
“It’s a huge number. I did not expect it to be that big, to be honest,” said Liz Boldon.

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A mother of three and a nurse, she’s referring to the Rochester Public School lunch debt which comes out to be over $83,000.
 
Though her children are older, the youngest being 16, Boldon remembers a time when her children had a negative lunch balance.

Though RPS doesn’t punish children who have negative balances, Boldon said in some cases those negative balances get sent to collection agencies. Which means the ramifications go, in Boldon’s words, “beyond” just student lunch debt.
 
Liz Boldon started her campaign to raise enough money to eliminate the debt in December of 2019 after hearing area parents voice their concerns surrounding the holidays and finances.
 
“This lunch debt was one of those stresses,” Boldon said.

So she created the campaign, hoping to raise not only money but awareness. The community listened so she was able to do both.
 
One of those within the community that listened was Grey Duck Theater, located off of Civic Center Drive NW. Boldon and Grey Duck had worked together before, so Boldon knew to ask to hold a fundraiser to help eliminate lunch debt there would be the perfect place.
 
Andy Smith, the owner of Grey Duck Theater, said they showed the 1927 silent film ‘My Best Girl’ over Valentine’s Day weekend.

Smith said since most silent films are so old, they’re now public domain.
 
“We can show them without having to pay fees that we’d normally pay for other films,” said Smith.

Since Grey Duck was able to show the film for free, the money that would otherwise go back to the film went back into the community.
 
Though the fundraising event didn’t raise the over $83,000, they did raise enough to help take a bite out of the debt - which now stands at just around $69,000.
 
If you’d like to help donate, you can do so by donating here. You can also join the Facebook page to get the latest updates on the debt.
 

 


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