By Tera Bryant
Daniel Spaulding, a Del City native, is a hero against hunger in the most unlikely of ways. His battleground? The school cafeteria. Daniel created a campaign on the website GoFundMe that is now currently raising money to pay off school lunch debt for Del City Elementary students.
“I grew up in the Mid-Del area. I attended Mid-Del schools for all my primary education, so this area has always been special to me. My inspiration for the No Hunger for the Younger campaign stems from a story I saw a few years ago. There was a guy who was raising money to eliminate the meal debts for OKC public schools and I thought that was just a great cause. So, I donated a few times. It always stuck with me and for some reason about a year ago I decided I wanted to do the same.” He started his campaign aptly entitled “No Hunger For the Younger” at the beginning of the school year in September. He emphasizes, “I just want to make sure the children are taken care of while they are at school and I want families to know that there are people out there who do want to help.”
Shelly Fox, Director of Child Nutrition for Mid-Del Schools stated she was familiar with Daniel’s efforts. When asked what happens during lunch when a student has debt on their account she replied, “Each situation is different, and our cafeteria supervisor may allow charging of meals based on the situation. We follow-up with parents to collect charges,” Fox said.“We are happy to have a citizen that is passionate about helping students and their families. We have received his donations to pay off charges on many student accounts. We have other donors who have stepped up to pay for student meals as well. For example, a church has supported their neighborhood school by offering to pay for meal charges. We appreciate these donors tremendously!”
Daniel feels the campaign is necessary given the current state of school funding. “I do feel there is a growing need for a program like this, especially with how the finances of this state and the lack of funding to the schools. I understand that food costs money, but I also don’t believe children should be the ones who suffer due to a lack of money. I know there are a lot of struggling families out there who are living paycheck to paycheck and sometimes need assistance. We do have programs that allow some qualifying families to pay a reduced price for their children to eat, but we also have families who earn just a little too much to not qualify for those programs, so this campaign benefits those families as well.”
With more community support he believes there are ways in which they can expand upon the campaign in the future.
“My long-term goal is to eventually branch out to other school districts that need the help. I have had people contact me saying they would like to do something like that for their district, so I am hoping this can become a statewide cause.” Daniel said. “If people want to help, there are multiple ways. If they would like to donate, they can do that through the GoFundMe page or they can purchase a t-shirt and all the proceeds will go towards the campaign. If there are any local business owners who would like to help, they can contact me through the Facebook page. Honestly, one of the best ways to help is just to share the campaign. If I can reach enough people, then I have no doubt that we can be successful with this cause.”
You can learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved at the following links:
Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/no-hunger-for-the-younger
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nohunger4theyounger