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Chobani pays off all lunch debt in Twin Falls School District

Unpaid meal charges at schools across the district added up to more than $85,000 for the 2018-19 school year.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The yogurt company Chobani will pay off more than $85,000 in school lunch debt in the Twin Falls School District, school officials announced Wednesday.

The donation will eliminate all remaining lunch debt from the 2018-2019 school year. 

The debt is from unpaid meal charges at schools across the district. If students or their parents do not pay off the money owed for charged meals at the end of the school year, the Twin Falls School District is left with the bill. That takes money from the yearly budget that could have been spent on education, according to the district.

The offer to pay off students' debt comes just one month after Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya gave almost $50,000 to pay off school debt at the Warwick School District in Rhode Island. That district had started serving students who owed lunch money cold jelly sandwiches instead of a hot meal. 

"Every child should have access to natural, nutritious & delicious food, so Chobani is doing our small part to help pay this debt," Ulukaya tweeted then.

According to the Twin Falls School District, Chobani recently found out about the school lunch debt at schools in Twin Falls, where the company has a plant, and decided to act again.  

Families who had not paid off their outstanding lunch debt by June 11 will receive letters notifying them of Chobani's gift. 

"The Twin Falls School District would like to thank Chobani for this contribution which greatly helps the district maintain an effective child nutrition program," the district wrote in a release. "The TFSD serves roughly 5,600 lunches and 2,100 breakfast per day throughout the school year."

Applications for the free and reduced lunch program for the 2019-2020 school year will be available on the school district's website starting July 1. 

A number of schools in the district - Bickel Elementary School, Harrison Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Morningside Elementary School, Oregon Trail Elementary School, Perrine Elementary School, South Hills Middle School, Bridge Academy, and Magic Valley High School - provide free breakfast and lunch to all students through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Provision.

All other school breakfast and lunch prices are listed below:

Elementary School 

Breakfast $1.50

Second Breakfast $1.75

Lunch $2.85

Second Lunch $3.10

Middle School

Breakfast $1.75

Second Breakfast $2.00

Lunch $3.10

Second Lunch $3.35

High School

Breakfast $1.75

Second Breakfast $2.00

Lunch $3.35

Second Lunch $3.60

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