From Charlotte, N.C., to Washington state, to Kansas City, Mo., and in Richfield, Minn., many are pitching in to help pay off school lunch debts. Per www.newfoodeconomy.org, “According to data from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), nearly 100,000 schools and educational institutions provide lunch to 30 million students a day.”

In Richfield, approximately 40 students had their lunches thrown away and replaced with a cold lunch because they had outstanding lunch debts. Students in Charles County also struggle with having outstanding lunch debts, and from what I have learned, they are not able to eat lunch at times. Continuing to hear and read about the school lunch shaming some children have to endure throughout the country is quite troubling.

Since starting “The Healthy and Thriving School Lunch Initiative” to help students in Charles County avoid such shame, many Charles County residents have contacted me to determine how they can assist in this effort.

I was touched to see the outpouring of responses from so many people after my letter to the editor, per the initiative, was made available to the public in the Maryland Independent on Dec. 25. It definitely takes a village to raise a child, and that statement is cliché’ yet true.

Because of that, I will continue to encourage other parents and adults in Charles County to join in this initiative, and coordinate with Charles County Public School principals at any school, to determine how they can help.

I plan to build upon this initiative as time goes on so that no student in our county will have to endure lunch shaming in any form. I also challenge the Charles County commissioners to join in, if possible, to help our children in any way that they can as well. We, as a collective, must ensure that no child goes hungry while trying to get an education in the Charles County Public Schools system. The children are our future and we must support them in any way that we can. Anyone needing more information, feel free to contact me via email at: ccschoolunch@yahoo.com.

Karla Kornegay, Waldorf