Kind Woman Pays Off A Bunch Of Overdue School Lunch Accounts So Kids Can Eat

She found a great, simple way to pay it forward — paying for overdue school lunches so that the kids at her local school could eat.

Sarah Stusek paying off school lunches TikTok

A woman named Sarah Stusek on TikTok was looking for new philanthropic avenues when she stumbled upon a thread on Twitter — people were talking about ways to pay it forward to the people around them so it feels more personal and more involved.

The initial tweet spoke about how someone decided to pay their neighbor's electric bill before their power shut off, and someone else replied with their favorite way to pay it forward that Stusek decided to adopt.


She decided to pay off overdue school lunches so the kids could eat.

On October 16, 2022, Stusek posted an 83-second clip on TikTok of a conversation she had over the phone with a secretary at the school where she lives right across the street from.

The video received 1.9 million views and nearly 4000 comments filled with people in support of her charity work, even inspiring others to do the same.

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“I was calling to see if there were any overdue school lunch accounts that I could pay for,” she told the woman on the other end of the phone when she picked up. The secretary is receptive and helps Stusek out, telling her that there are plenty of overdue lunch accounts.


According to the Education Data Initiative, over 1.54 million students in the US can’t afford their school meals, and the national public school meal debt is $262 million a year. When she asks for the total amount of all of them, she responds with “$1059.” Heartbroken by the number given, someone in the comments replies “$1,000 [in] overdue lunches means god knows how many kiddos aren’t permitted to eat a lunch daily.”

Stusek, totally fine with the amount of money she needs to pay in order to close all of the overdue accounts, asks if she can pay with a credit card over the phone, but the secretary tells her that she would have to come in with a check.

Although many people were in support of her method, some people were a little skeptical of her intentions.

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One person asked her why she had to record the video and post it online.

She explained the story of how she stumbled upon the Twitter thread and said “If it wasn’t [for] social media, I would have never seen that and I would have never known.”

In the same line of thinking, she decided that, regardless of how “tacky” it might be of her to post the video, she thought it was important for her to “so other people could learn about it just like I did through that thread.”

Stusek also shares that if people don’t want to make the call themselves for whatever reason, they could send her the money through Venmo so that she can keep paying for the overdue lunches.


She makes sure to follow up with a video of her paying the overdue lunch money.

A TikTok account called “Giving Tuesday” shared the video recorded by Stusek where she walks into the school and writes out the check. It was as simply as making some small conversation with the woman in the administrative office and writing out the check.

On her way out, she tells the camera “we did it, who’s next? Let’s go,” encouraging others to do as she did and pay it forward by providing kids at their local school with lunches.

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The Education Data Initiative reports that the average meal debt per child is $170.13 yearly, and 75.1% of surveyed schools had unpaid student meal debt.


This means that there are plenty of kids unable to afford school lunches, but plenty of chances for people to pay it forward in case they’re feeling generous.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.