A Florida megachurch has paid off $38,000 for the lunch debts of high school students in two Tampa-area school districts.
Idlewild Baptist Church has a variety of school outreach programs, including tutoring and providing supplies for families. As they created additional programs to assist with pandemic relief, church members heard that student lunch debt was high in two school districts between their two campuses and decided to help.
"We wanted students to know that God loves them; that in God, all debts are paid," said local missions director Yerusha Bunag. "So that's what we did. We paid the debt for juniors and seniors at Hillsborough County and the debt for all students at Pasco County."
Bunag also said the church was not seeking attention with the move, but that the congregation did it "for the sake of the cross and to reach the lost."
Having lunch debt can exclude students from being eligible to participate in graduation or other end-of-year activities.
Pasco County Superintendent Kurt Browning said the gesture "will come as a relief to so many families, especially at a time when many are struggling."