Church raises over $30K to pay off lunch debts for nearly 10 school districts

A local church has raised more than $30,000 in just three days to pay off outstanding student lunch balances.

CLAYTON — A local church has raised more than $30,000 in just three days to pay off outstanding student lunch balances.

The Salem Church of God put gave out a challenge to its congregation during last Sunday’s service — to raise $14,000 to pay off lunch debt for two area districts.

>> Cheryl Coker case: Search warrants executed this week

Content Continues Below

The congregation showed up for the challenge, over doubling that goal.

“The total keeps moving up, but we’ve raised over $34,000,” said Steve Southards, lead pastor at Salem Church of God.

The church has raised now raised enough money to pay off student lunch debts for nine districts.

“In our school districts, there are kids that are coming to school without money for lunch. The school will give them lunch, but they accrue a debt,” Southards said.

Families who have had their lunch debt paid off will now receive letting them know of the gift.

“Our hope is that this starts a snowball of generosity,” said Bob Hawker. “There’s lots of ways to do this. It doesn’t just have to be about the school debt. It can happen in the Starbucks line or the neighbor next door.”