Woman setting out to save school lunches for some Hueytown students

Hueytown woman working to get lunch money for students in need

HUEYTOWN, Ala. (WBRC) - Parents of students at Hueytown Middle School were told that if school lunch accounts were not current by October 1 that students would get an alternative meal. Parents thought it was a joke, until this week.

Melissa Honeycutt wouldn’t wish this on any parent’s child.

“A cheese sandwich and an apple and water, I believe. Some are saying milk,” says Honeycutt.

Honeycutt’s daughter, Hannah, said her classmate was $3 short on his lunch account and had to eat the alternative meal.

“It was just like, in a little bag. And it was wheat bread and it just had one piece of white cheese on it and it was cold. When I sat down in front of him, I could tell he was really upset about it,” says Hannah.

She and her classmates decided to share their food.

“I gave him one of my fruit cups that I had,” says Hannah.

“Kids have talked about it, it’s embarrassing, it’s like the walk of shame when you can’t get your regular tray,” says Honeycutt.

After talking to lunch officials, she found out it’s a state policy they have no control over. That’s when she took to social media, deciding to help all students who were deficient on their lunch accounts - a total of $183.

"We need cash to get these accounts current so these children can eat what everybody else is eating,” said Honeycutt.

She says these students either don’t qualify for free or reduced lunches, or their parents simply forget or are unable to update the account. But now, thanks to fundraising efforts, she says hopefully that won’t happen again for a long time.

“Seven total messages of individuals saying they wanted to pay the whole amount. And that was, I was so grateful for that,” said Honeycutt.

The Jefferson County School Board gave us this statement in response, it reads in part:

It is never the intent of the Jefferson County School District for any student to miss a meal… Our Child Nutrition Program is required to follow all state laws which prohibits charges or negative balances; therefore we partner with our communities to help find funding to support our families in need.

Honeycutt is working with school officials to put the extra money in a reserve for students. She hopes to meet with the principal next week.

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