Donations pay off school lunch debt in 2 districts

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MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Several organizations donated over $19,000 to wipe out nearly all of the school lunch debt for two school districts in metro Atlanta.

Marietta City Schools recently received more than $9,000 from 27 donors, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Cobb County police and a local division of the Fraternal Order of Police donated $10,000 to the county school district in December.

More than 40,000 students in Cobb County receive free and reduced lunch, according to school district officials.

“So, hunger in this community is a real issue,” said Emily Hanlin, Cobb schools executive director of Food and Nutrition Services. “A lot of parents will call and say, ‘I don’t have the funds to pay off the account.' Now we can tell those parents, ‘Don’t worry about it. Don't stress.'”

Both Cobb County and Marietta City Schools say students are allowed to charge a small number of meals, and they are still fed once they reach the charge limit. The Marietta district offers an alternative meal of a cheese sandwich and juice or milk. Cobb County schools offer a regular hot meal, according to Hanlin.

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