Blue Springs business raising money to help pay off school district’s lunch debt

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- One Blue Springs restaurant owner routinely gives back to the community through her Blue Stripe Project.

For the past three years, Sandy's Restaurant owner Erika Lucas has donated to law enforcement's Shop with a Cop. But this year, Lucas is doing something new: She's tackling lunch debt in the Blue Springs School District.

"Another business somewhere in another state had donated. I thought, what an inspiring story," Lucas said.

Her goal is to raise $15,000 by the end of Nov. 23.

Lucas said she's giving 10% of the sales from her restaurant over six weeks to help kids in the district. She's also selling t-shirts and taking monetary donations.

"Our goal of $15,000 was a drop in the bucket compared to the $100,000 debt that they had last year," Lucas said.

That's right. Last year, the district had $100,000 in lunch debt. School officials said they got that number knocked down to about $35,000 at the beginning of the new school year.

Now, the debt total is starting to add up again.

"It just never ends. It's just all the time, so every little bit helps. We want to target the kids and the families that really need it," Superintendent of Management Services Jason Woolf said.

Woolf said about 30% of students in the district's 20 schools receive free or reduced lunch. For those who don't qualify, paying for meals every day can still be a challenge.

"I mean, lunch debt has been a big issue in our district along with other districts across the country," Woolf said.

It's a big issue that Lucas and the district hope to help solve.

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