NJ teen pays off other students’ lunch debt

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SUMMIT, N.J. — Kids who can’t afford lunch can rack up a bill in the school cafeteria. There are schools who have named and shamed students who cannot pay at the end of the year.

"Students are put to work. So they have to clean tables and mop the floors to pay for their lunch,” Keertana Talla, a 16-year-old student at Kent Place School, told PIX11. 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."

PIX11 interviewed Talla last year when she was just getting started. She’s since exceeded her fundraising goal.

Last 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 get on board.

"To raise awareness. To create their own campaigns to raise money. To find schools that are close to them to donate to,” she said.

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

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