Chobani CEO Pays Off Almost $50K Of Student Lunch Debts

Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

The CEO of Chobani donated almost $50,000 to pay off student lunch debts at a school district in Rhode Island.

Warwick Public Schools in Rhode Island faced about $77,000 in outstanding lunch fees this year. It announced a new plan in an attempt to collect the money: Students with outstanding debts would be limited to eating “sun butter and jelly” sandwiches.

The decision caused an enormous outcry, and it caught the attention of one dad with a conscience and the means to help. Hamdi Ulukaya, the CEO and founder of Chobani, donated $47,650 from the company to settle the debts.

More donations also poured in from public crowdfunding efforts.

“As a parent, this news breaks my heart,” Hamdi said in a statement, according to WGNO. “For every child, access to naturally nutritious and delicious food should be a right, not a privilege. When our children are strong, our families are stronger. And when our families are strong, our communities are stronger.”

Hamdi also called on other businesses to take similar action to solve the food insecurity crisis in America.

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