Metro church gives more than $92K to pay for student lunch debt

Metro church gives more than $92K to pay for student lunch debt

A video recorded at Richfield High School last week got a lot of people talking. It shows what school administrators admit was a big mistake: Students with a certain level of lunch debt had their meal taken, thrown out, and replaced with an alternative. 

The people at Passion Church saw the video, too. 

“I think anytime you see kids in lack, your heart just goes out to them,” said church leader, Jon Manke.

So the church, which has locations in Maple Grove and Fridley, pledged $10,000 to the district to help eliminate outstanding lunch debt. 

RELATED: Richfield Schools leaders on lunch incident: ‘What happened is inappropriate’

The money comes from the church’s ‘School Lunch Matters’ initiative, which they launched in 2015. 

“Of all the things underprivileged kids have to worry about, what if the one thing they didn’t have to worry about was lunch?” posed lead pastor Jonathan Brozozog in a video the church posted on YouTube about the donation. 

‘School Lunch Matters’ started by giving money to the Osseo School District. A little over a year ago, they expanded the program to the Fridley School District. 

Their $10,000 donation to Richfield is the latest in what the church has said, and school district officials confirm, amounts to about $92,500 towards outstanding meal debt since 2015. 


Multiple school district officials said the students in need are those who are “on the cusp” of the free and reduced lunch program, yet don’t qualify. 

“A lot of people actually are just above the threshold,” Manke said. “So that’s really the demographic that we’ve seen that have kind of needed this program. Where [they] don’t necessarily qualify, but [are] just above that threshold.”

The church says parishioners contributed to most of the money. If you’d like to help, you can donate here. 

The Richfield School District says since last week, in addition to the pledge from Passion Church, they’ve received nearly $22,823 dollars in individual donations to pay off its students’ lunch debt. 

They say that’s enough to pay off the current meal debt with reserves left over.

They say the Philando Castile Relief Foundation has also reached out. 

RELATED: Looking at school lunch debt in a bigger picture

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