John Legend has quietly donated $5,000 towards a GoFundMe page raising money to pay off student lunch debt in the Seattle Public Schools district.
The crowdfunding campaign was launched by John Lew with a goal of $20,000 – enough to pay off any lunch debt accrued by families who can’t afford to pay for their children’s lunches.
When Lew noticed that a quarter of the goal was donated over the weekend, from a man named John Stephens, he took to Google and found out it was the government name of one John Legend.
Lew then composed a thank you note with a quick addendum before his signature saying: “By the way, are you also known as John Legend? Regardless of who you are or not, thank you. You’ve helped a lot.”
Legend soon responded with “Yes, it’s me.”
Lew then tweeted his gratitude to the singer for all to see, which prompted the Grammy-award winning musician to respond: “My pleasure! We should have free lunch for all of our public students!”
Since the story has gotten such widespread media attention, the crowdfunding page has now raised $41,000. All the additional funds will go towards paying nutritious student meals in the future.
In Seattle, students who wrack up over $15 in lunch debt are reportedly given modified lunches consisting of less nutritious components, such as dry white bread with cold cheese. This policy has been called an act of “lunch shaming.”
Though there has been no talk of higher-level action protecting children from this kind of treatment, New Mexico is reportedly on its way to becoming the first state to pass legislation prohibiting lunch shaming.
In the mean time, however, Lew has started additional crowdfunding campaigns for the Tacoma and Renton school districts as well. Tacoma has already raised $20,000 of its $30,000 goal, while the Renton campaign has reached about half of its attempted $18,000.