(WXYZ) — Community Choice Credit Union has donated more than $43,000 to pay off outstanding lunch debts of 4,045 students.
The debts spanned 20 districts and 121 individual schools.
The donations were made throughout the summer and came from the credit union's outreach fund earmarked for community events that were canceled earlier this year.
“This is likely going to be an extraordinary start to the school year after last year ended so abruptly,” said Jeremy Cybulski, community engagement manager at Community Choice, in a press release. “On top of that, you have the added expenses of starting a school year, like purchasing school supplies, uniforms, or new clothes for growing kids. So, if we can remove the stress of also having to pay off a school lunch bill from last year, we’re happy to do it.”
Carolyn Thomas, child nutrition consultant for the Macomb Intermediate School District, expressed gratitude for the donation on behalf of the families and the district.
“School meal programs are so important; no child should ever have to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” Thomas said. “Community Choice paid the balance for 184 children in our district. I heard from several families after we told them that their negative balance had been cleared by this donation. They were so grateful. It was such a welcome message to be able to let them know that they didn’t have to worry anymore. Especially now, when more people have lost their jobs and they’re really looking to just meet their basic needs.”
The Credit Union paid off the balances for all students in the following districts:
· Michigan Center Schools
· Huron Valley Schools
· Orchard View Schools
· South Lyon Public Schools
· Northville Public Schools
· South Redford Schools
· Ferndale Schools
· Macomb Intermediate Schools
· (Jackson) Western Public Schools
· Wayne Westland Schools
· Livonia Schools
· Farmington Public Schools
· Eastpointe Community Schools
Additionally, the debt was settled for:
· Seniors at Southfield High School for the Arts & Technology
· Students in three elementary schools in the Lake Shore Public Schools
· Students at Avondale High School
· Two elementary schools in the Warren Consolidated district
· Two schools in the Jackson County Intermediate School District
· The high school /middle school in the Holland Public Schools
· Two schools in the Wyandotte District
“We hope this contribution helps get our families off to a great start to a new school year,” Cybulski said.
Along with paying off meal bills, the credit union will also host backpack giveaways in July and August. Children will receive a backpack filled with schools supplies along with other local treats.