LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Hundreds of dollars in school lunch debt at a Lawton school is now paid off thanks to a student, his father and their local fundraising group. After a day of volunteering at his son's school, Michael McGill II saw firsthand the issue school districts across the nation struggle with.
"Some kids were eating differently than the other kids, and I asked the lady what is going on here?" he said.
Those students had nothing in their lunch account, and after three unpaid meals the schools were required to give them an alternative meal, and at Hugh Bish Elementary, all they had to eat was a small sandwich.
McGill brought the issue to his son Michael McGill III.
"We were talking about raising and donating money for the school to have money for the other kids to eat lunch," he said.
The two took to social media and brought the idea to their fundraising group School of Athens. The group was founded 10 years ago while some of the members were stationed at Fort Sill.
As School of Athens co-founder Brandon Caminero explained, the group was happy to help with the fundraising effort.
"I can understand growing up without eating so I was really excited to help out the kids and help out the school," he said.
After just 48 hours, they raised $1,600, actually doubling the amount needed to get the students out of debt.
Hugh Bish principal Sherry Havron was stunned at the group's efforts.
"After I recovered from 'oh my gosh that is incredible,'" she said. "The service and the willingness to choose that as an area to provide service to children and families. I was in awe."
McGill said his group usually gives in secret, but he wanted to use the donation as an opportunity to show parents there are ways to get help with their kid's lunches – like the free and reduced lunch fee program.
"They can do it any time they need because parents come through a crisis in different ways at all different times in their life and sometimes they need a little help," he said. "That's where we were able to step in and help people with this kind of stuff."
Parents can also download this app to monitor their student's lunch account from their phone.