Teen Raises Over $10K to Pay Off Other Students’ Debt, Combat ‘Lunch Shaming’

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SUMMIT, N.J. — A New Jersey high school student has raised thousands of dollars to pay off the lunch debts of students at other schools after she says she was disturbed by the so-called "lunch shaming" she saw at her previous school, according to the Jersey Journal.

"Students are put to work. So they have to clean tables and mop the floors to pay for their lunch,” 16-year-old Keertana Talla, who now attends Kent Place School in New Jersey, told WPIX. Talla started a fundraising campaign to raise awareness about school lunch shaming. "There is no need to embarrass kids in public. It’s not their fault."

WPIX interviewed Talla last year when she was just getting started. She’s since exceeded her fundraising goal.

On Thursday night, she donated $10,000 to Englewood Public Schools to pay off students' lunch debts.

Talla is now looking for other schools to make donations to and she is expanding her efforts. She has started an organization for other students to join.

She said she wants to "raise awareness" so other students can create their own campaigns to raise money for classmates in their own districts.

You can find out more at www.lunchcrisis.org.


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  • jsrant

    That’s right, give free lunches. Then it will be access cards then low rent and checks every month. Wait a minute, they get that now. Hard working taxpayers to the rescue. Can’t pay for lunch then you don’t get lunch. McDonald’s won’t give me free lunches. Work for it like I do. Quit freeloading.

    • Am Light

      Time was when a child just didn’t eat if they weren’t sent to school with lunch or money. If classmates were caring, they’d share with the unfortunate. At least these kids have the opportunity to earn their lunches. I didn’t have that opportunity and often went hungry.

  • Rusty Knyffe

    Shaming the parents/guardians seems appropriate, but this is also a fact: nothing is free in Life. That these kids wipe down tables in order to eat is HOW LIFE WORKS. They’re eventually going to have to graduate from school and either find a trade (best option) or attend college (for no good purpose) and THEN they won’t be able to afford lunches, at all, because they’ll be paying off student loans for the rest of their natural live. This activity is called, “working,” or, “employment.” They’d better get used to it because iPhones don’t pay their own way.

  • Sherry L Hepler

    School district sanctioned bullying. Yes, some parents are negligent and that is shameful. But if a kid actually cannot afford to pay for lunch and the parents are being negligent, WHY shame the student??? I can’t believe that these overpaid administrators can’t come up with a better solution! SHAME ON YOU!!!

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