It was just the day after the SanFrancisco 49er cornerback was named the National Football League Players Association Week 11 Community MVP, that he cleared the lunch debt of over $27,000 at two west-coast schools.
Ahead of this year's Thanksgiving, Richard Sherman generously gave back to his community by clearing over $27,000 in lunch-debts at two west-coast schools. It was just the day after the SanFrancisco 49er cornerback was named the National Football League Players Association Week 11 Community MVP, that he handed a cheque to school's principal. Sherman presented a personal cheque to clear the cafeteria's outstanding amount of $7,491.27, helping 60 students, according to a report by Fox News. "Richard Sherman pulled me from my shift as a docent in the 49ers Museum to give me a personal check for $7,491.27 to cover Cabrillo Middle School’s cafeteria debt," wrote Stan Garber, Cabrillo Middle School's principal, on the school's website.
49ers' Richard Sherman covers Bay Area school's cafeteria debt. Sherman donated more than $7,400 to cover Cabrillo Middle School’s cafeteria debt. https://t.co/IcGq0oGxQA— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) 28 November 2019
"Richard’s gesture created such good will for the 49ers that they went on to sack Aaron Roger’s [sic] and the Green Bay Packers the next day on national tv by a score of 37-8. Go 49ers, Go Richard Sherman," he added along with a picture of him posing along with Sherman. Speaking to ABC News, Garber shared, "It's the most generous thing to happen for these kids, there's plenty in need and he didn't neglect them, it was the perfect way to give back and help them. It was the kindest most generous gesture."
Furthermore, he went on to praise Sherman's noble work through his two organizations - Richard Sherman Family Foundation and Blanket Coverage Foundation - which were honored by the NFLPA on November 22. The NFL star's kind donation comes shortly after he gave over $20,000 to clear students' lunch debt at the Tacoma Public Schools in Tacoma, Washington. The former Seattle Seahawk player also donated food to Sumner High School food drive in Washington.
Sherman successfully raised $1.5 million since 2013, in addition to helping "more than 70,000 people in carrying out their mission of providing students in low-income communities with school supplies and clothing so they can more adequately achieve their goals," wrote NFLPA's communications manager, Brandon Parker, according to a report by Fox News.
The increasing amount of lunch debt in schools sprawled all across the country is a concerning issue. While the median amount of these debts in school districts is only $2500, there's a lot of variances. The School Nutrition Association or SNA found that there were debts ranging from single digits to over $856,000, in school districts. "The gap ranges very widely, and what we're finding is that some districts are really experiencing very high debt accruals," said Diane Pratt-Heavner of SNA according to CNN.
At the same time as we’re talking about the fact that increasing numbers of students have “lunch debt” and schools are using #lunchshaming to get it back, decreasing the number that receive free lunch makes absolutely no sense https://t.co/LQ7XeONjfS— Deborah Temkin, Ph.D. (@DrDebTemkin) 31 July 2019
In order to combat this issue, many schools had adopted a "shaming" policy by either singling them out by placing a stamp on their hands however states like California, Oregon, New Mexico, and Iowa, have passed laws prohibiting schools from doing so. In Rhode Island, students are given alternate meals of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which despite making students feel conscious are not considered as bad as the previously mentioned practices. Thankfully, we still have people like Richard Sherman and Andrew Levy, who are selflessly donating money to keep kids fed.