Utah middle-school teacher’s viral TikTok video raises over $30,000 to clear student lunch debt.
Heartwarming Display of Compassion
In a heartwarming display of compassion and generosity, a middle-school teacher from Heber City, Utah, touched countless students’ lives by using social media’s power to tackle an important issue – student hunger.
Middle School Teacher Goes Above and Beyond
Garrett Jones, a dedicated educator with five years of teaching experience at Rocky Mountain Middle School, shared a now-viral six-second clip on TikTok that had a profound impact on his community.
Asking for Small Donations
The video was a creative twist on a popular social media trend where people requested small donations for personal trips, weddings, or dream cars.
They Can’t Study When Hungry
Instead of asking for money for himself, Jones used the platform to advocate for a cause close to his heart – free school lunches.
He passionately believed that students couldn’t fully concentrate on their studies if they were hungry and burdened with outstanding lunch debts.
‘School Lunch Should Be Free’
“School lunch should be free,” Jones wrote in the caption of his viral clip, making a compelling case for the importance of providing free meals to students.
He Didn’t Expect the Outcome
His plea struck a chord with viewers, and the response was overwhelming. Little did Jones know that his simple video would trigger such a wave of generosity.
Donations Poured In
Within a short span, donations poured in, and the total amount raised surpassed a staggering $30,000.
Debt Forgiveness in the Lunchroom
The funds collected would be used to cancel the outstanding lunch fees in the Wasatch County School District, benefiting numerous students and their families.
Free Lunch Program Came to an End
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, students in Jones’ school district were fortunate to receive free lunches through a federal program that covered their meal costs.
The Relief Was Only Temporary
However, the program ended last year, leaving some students facing the burden of unpaid lunch fees again.
Lunchtime Became Stressful
For these students, lunchtime became a source of stress and embarrassment. Jones noticed some of them choosing to skip meals entirely to avoid the discomfort of owing money.
As a caring educator, he felt compelled to take action and make a difference in their lives.
He Wanted to Pay Off Lunch Debts
In his video, Jones pledged to pay off the outstanding lunch fees of each student at his school if 2,673 people sent him $1 via Venmo.
The clip garnered an astounding 5 million views, capturing the attention and hearts of people far and wide.
Donors Were More Than Happy to Help
What touched Jones even more than the outpouring of financial support was the heartfelt comments accompanying the donations.
People Shared Personal Experiences
Many donors shared their personal experiences, expressing empathy for the students who faced the burden of unpaid lunch debts.
Despite their own financial constraints, they felt compelled to help in any way they could.
He Was ‘Distinguished Educator of the Year’
Jones, who was previously honored as the Wasatch Education Foundation’s Distinguished Educator of the Year and he collaborated with the foundation to cover approximately $4,000 of outstanding lunch fees across the entire school district.
School Board Directors Showed Support
His dedication and compassion have not gone unnoticed, with Kimberly Dickerson, a member of the school board and the foundation’s board of directors, commending him for his unwavering support for students.
“A hungry child cannot learn to their fullest potential, so for Garrett to realize how important it is to relieve the worry of students carrying a negative lunch balance shows enormous compassion,” Dickerson said in an email.
He’s Hoping to Inspire Others
Jones hopes that his initiative will inspire others to advocate for free school lunches and encourage them to write to their representatives about the issue.
No Student Should Be Burdened With Fees
By channeling the widespread support demonstrated through his video, he believes they can bring about lasting change and ensure that no student faces the burden of unpaid lunch fees in the future.
Small Acts of Kindness Go a Long Way
The heartwarming story of Garrett Jones serves as a powerful reminder that small acts of kindness can have a significant impact on the lives of others.
Jones has shown that educators can be powerful advocates for positive change within their communities through his dedication and passion for his students’ well-being.
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