The total negative lunch balance across the entire Horry County School District comes in at just over $99,000, according to district records.
Pierce Chapman at Aynor High School recently decided that something had to be done, and he’s working hard to do his part in the effort, starting with his own school.
Hill had a friend at school who couldn’t get food every day, he said, so he was bringing the friend food or money to help them be able to eat.
“I was taking a few extra dollars every time I could, extra chores just to get money,” Chapman said.
According to school district officials, the policy regarding meal charges says that if a student does not have lunch money, he or she may charge up to $20.
“Parents will be notified by phone and/or letter to send payment. If parents refuse to pay for meals, students may be provided a courtesy meal which will consist of a sandwich and beverage,” the policy states.
Chapman said he asked a few people at his school who pay for lunches and Chapman shared that most of them had no idea that if they had a problem paying for lunch, they could simply ask for a courtesy lunch.
Principal Michael McCracken said that no child is turned away from eating, and that Chapman’s excitement and motivation to help has been contagious.
“His idea to help others and this single act of kindness will benefit many of his classmates,” McCracken said. “We are very proud of what [they] have initiated and thrilled that so many people are responding with compassion.”
Chapman and his mother Kerri Hill decided to organize a social media fundraiser to help wipe out the lunch debt at AHS, which as of October 15 totaled $1,799.18.
So far, they are almost up to $1,300, and once their goal is reached, they have even bigger plans.
Labyrinth Walking, a business based in Socastee, has agreed to help fundraise each month and give the proceeds to a different school’s negative balance each month to help eradicate the debts.
Hill said the store will accept donations each month towards the debts as well.
According to the district, school lunch debt stays with the student and rolls with the student year after year, just like other fees like technology fees.
The schools that implemented the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) recently could still show debt from the time prior to the CEP program start, district officials said.
Schools who provide breakfasts and lunches each day at no charge for all students at the school are Daisy Elementary, Loris Elementary and Middle, Homewood Elementary, Pee Dee Elementary, South Conway Elementary, Waccamaw Elementary, Whittemore Park Middle, Horry County Alternative School, Palmetto Bays Elementary, Socastee Elementary, Myrtle Beach Early Childhood, Myrtle Beach Elementary, Myrtle Beach Primary, and Green Sea Floyds Elementary and High.
Find Chapman's fundraiser here:
School lunch debt for each school is as follows:
AAST - $1,114.38
Alternative School - $680.56
ATA - $2,453.29
Aynor Elementary - $3,926.42
Aynor High - $1,799.18
Aynor Middle - $2,956.82
Black Water Middle - $2,004.04
Burgess Elementary - $627.66
Carolina Forest Elementary - $2,286.40
Carolina Forest High - $10,345.22
Conway Elementary - $3,930.52
Conway High - $5,862.62
Conway Middle - $3,007.49
Daisy Elementary - $164.98
Early College High - $1,165.51
Forestbrook Elementary - $2,779.53
Forestbrook Middle - $1,855.07
Green Sea Floyds Elementary - $477.52
Green Sea Floyds High - $606.45
Homewood Elementary - $1,037.70
Kingston Elementary - $1,380.41
Lakewood Elementary - $6,929.34
Loris Elementary - $664.76
Loris High – $2,673.97
Loris Middle - $132.77
Midland Elementary - $2,228.61
MB Early Childhood - $148.40
MB Elementary - $391.23
MB High - $4,227.94
MB Middle - $1,625.53
MB Primary - $264.55
NMB High - $1,672.65
NMB Middle - $3,932.80
Ocean Bay Elementary - $1,102.32
Ocean Bay Middle - $930.33
Ocean Drive Elementary - $1,316.98
Palmetto Bays Elementary - $188.10
Pee Dee Elementary - $947.88
River Oaks Elementary - $1,681.88
Riverside Elementary - $849.76
Seaside Elementary - $1,239.37
Socastee Elementary - $454.26
Socastee High - $1,867.91
Socastee Middle - $605.60
South Conway Elementary - $355.88
St. James Elementary - $1,071.12
St. James High - $2,774.72
St. James Intermediate - $801.29
St. James Middle - $1,057.58
Ten Oaks Middle - $1,042.95
Waccamaw Elementary - $820.50
Waterway Elementary - $4,218.24
Whittemore Park Middle - $1,162.21
TOTAL District-Wide Negative Lunch Balance: $99,903.20