With A Single Tweet, This Writer Helped Clear Thousands Of Dollars Of Student Lunch Debts Across The Country

"I sincerely just wanted to think of something really easy that people could do to make a difference locally."

No one knows the power of words better than a writer, and this one is proving you can make a huge difference in just 132 characters. 

New York City-based writer Ashley C. Ford took to Twitter to tell her followers about a simple but effective way to help parents and kids in the United States. 

"A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off," she wrote in a tweet this past December. 

Since then, the post has been retweeted more than 8,000 times and inspired people all over the United States to raise thousands of dollars in donations to erase school lunch debts.

An online fundraiser paid off nearly $100,000 in lunch debt in Minneapolis schools and $28,000 in St. Paul's. People also donated thousands of dollars to schools in Kansas, Bellevue, Wash., Indiana, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press

School lunch debt can accumulate for a number of reasons. Low-income families often qualify for free or reduced lunches for their kids. However, some parents still struggle to afford the reduced cost, causing their child's lunch account to be overdrawn. Sometimes, families who qualify for free or reduced lunches fail to fill out the necessary paperwork. Other times, parents neglect their child's prepaid lunch account and forget to put money in it. At some schools, students with debts on their lunch accounts are offered "alternative meals," such as cold cheese sandwiches. 

Jill Draper, who lives in Kingston, N.Y., saw Ford's tweet and was inspired to taken action. "It seemed like a really easy way to make a positive difference locally," Draper told the AP. "It's amazing how one tweet became this crazy movement." Draper, who has no kids of her own, ended up raising $6,000 to go toward student lunch debts owed by 600 students in Kingston schools.

"I sincerely just wanted to think of something really easy that people could do to make a difference locally," Ford told the AP. "It was just one idea; another school might need help with uniforms or tutoring. The point was to do something that helps people in your community."

(H/T: Glamour

Cover image via Shutterstock

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