Local nonprofit working to stop bullying by paying off lunch debt

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — “We are in the giving back business, it’s all about service for us,” said Darrin Adams with B.L.A.M., Boys Learning About Manhood. 

Adams and Carl Williams are both members of the local nonprofit organization.

Each fall they work with their sister organization, Girls Leading After Mentorship, to donate school supplies to children in need. 

However, this year they decided to take a different approach to giving back.

“One of our members suggested that we pay off lunch debt because there was a lot of bullying going on with the lunch debt. So that’s the route we decided to take,” said Williams. 

The member behind the idea was Adams, the organization’s chaplain.

“I wanted to do something a little different by paying off lunch debt, something that’s a little more embarrassing than having to ask for a pencil or piece of paper,” Adams explained. 

Adams says after a few days of owing lunch money, most schools resort to giving those children an alternative meal like a cheese sandwich, which leads to bullying. 

“Other kids are having pizza, pepper steak, and can get a dessert, and snack, when this kid all day every day has the same lunch and kids will tease him because they can’t afford it,” he elaborated.

They hit the ground running with their new “erase school lunch debt” initiative earlier this week.

They started by paying off their alma maters, G. A. Treakle Elementary School and Camelot Elementary.

Now, they’re in the process of paying off Florence Bowser Elementary, which has over $1,000 in school lunch debt, but they need your help to make it possible. 

“End game is for every kid in Hampton Roads to be able to eat a regular lunch, without the cheese sandwich,” smiled Williams. 

Williams is encouraging schools who have outstanding lunch debt to reach out to them. 

If you’re interested in donating, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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