‘What a Blessing’: Missouri Teenager Pays Off Lunch Debts for Students at Former Elementary School

A 14-year-old in North County, Missouri, is lifting the burden of school lunch debt from students at a campus close to his heart.

DeJuan Strickland knows that sometimes a child’s only meal is the one they receive during school hours, KOMU reported Wednesday.

The big-hearted comic book author who created the Tech Boy Initiative is using the program to raise funds for young students who cannot afford to purchase cafeteria food during their time at school.

GR8 JOB! DeJuan Strickland said he remembers battling hunger at the lunch table when he was in fourth grade….

Posted by Region 8 News on Wednesday, August 2, 2023

“As you know, the school year is about to begin, and I wanted to go and restart my initiative of offsetting negative lunch balances,” Strickland told social media users in a video posted July 25:

https://gofund.me/ab2d2dcfHello. My name is DeJuan Strickland and I am 14 years old. I am raising money for my Team Tech Boy Lunch Heroes initiative.100% of the money raised will go to offset students lunch balances. Sometimes school lunch is the only meal a kid can depend on . Food insecurity is a huge issue and I am doing what I can to combat it. So I am asking for donations and anything you can give will help and is appreciated. Thank you so much!

Posted by Team Tech Boy on Tuesday, July 25, 2023

“My goal is to raise $500 to offset negative lunch balances in the Hazelwood School District… Let’s get this started,” he said.

As a fourth grader at McCurdy Elementary, Strickland felt the pangs of hunger many times during lunch.

“I didn’t even know what could possibly be my next meal in the day, and it definitely was a struggle. Seeing all the other kids around me be able to eat their school lunches and I couldn’t, it was really rough,” he commented.

Strickland’s GoFundMe page titled “Lets Help Eliminate Negative Lunch Balances” raised a whopping $2,090 of its $200 goal.

“I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you who took the time to donate to help eliminate students negative lunch balances,” he wrote in a January update. “This will help many families who are struggling financially. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.”

Thanks to his big heart and generous donors, all student lunch debt at McCurdy Elementary has been paid off and a check given to the principal.

Meet DeJuan Strickland. He raised enough money to pay off every student’s lunch debt at McCurdy Elementary. This 14-year-old is also a comic book author. You go boy! His full story tonight at 10pm @KMOV

Posted by Melanie Johnson TV on Tuesday, August 1, 2023

“You are incredible, inspiring and have such a good heart! You are going places young man, the sky’s the limit. Amazing,” one social media user said of his efforts.

“What a Blessing you are, this is what God wants us to do SHARE,” another stated.

“It feels good to know those students can eat their lunches without worrying about debt,” noted Strickland, who plans to continue the initiative each year.

“A life-changing experience just knowing that I helped impact other kids and helped them out in their lives,” he said.


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