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John Legend donates $5K to cover Seattle’s school lunch debt

John Legend. (AP)

Crooning superstar John Legend has donated $5,000 to help erase student lunch debt at Seattle Public Schools.

Jeff Lew, father of three, started a GoFundMe page in early May to pay the bill for students and parents who cannot always afford to pay for the midday meal.

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Money started trickling in, but a surprise came when Lew noticed a $5,000 donation under the name of John Stephens – the real name of musician and Grammy winner John Legend. It is the largest donation toward the cause.

Lew thanked Legend via Twitter.

Legend replied on Twitter: “My pleasure! We should have free lunch for all of our public students!”

Seattle has 99 public schools. The lunch debt across the district is just over $20,000. Lew’s GoFundMe page has a goal set at $40,000 and is now also raising money to cover lunch debt in Renton and Tacoma. The page has raised nearly $35,000 so far and is still accepting donations.

Lew wrote on his GoFundMe page:

As of May 9, 2017, the total school lunch debt at my child’s school is $97.10. My first goal is to have that paid off. The second goal is to help pay off the school lunch debt for the entire Seattle Public Schools district.

Many children depend on a nutritious lunch to help them through their school day. Per the 2015-16 report by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State, 36% of Seattle Public School District students are on free or reduced-price meals. This is based on parents filling out meal applications. If a child is unable to pay for their meal, a debt has started. Families will receive an invoice from the school district to pay the debt.

There is another GoFundMe page to cover lunch debt at Everett schools.

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