Missouri Teen Pays Off Lunch Debt At Former School

August 12, 2023

14-year-old DeJuan Strickland has made headlines by launching a successful GoFundMe campaign that entirely paid off the accumulated lunch debt at his former school, McCurdy Elementary.

kid raises money to pay off entire school debt
Dejuan Strickland and his mother

Strickland said he remembered what it felt like to be hungry as a fourth grader and not knowing how he would eat lunch that day. That feeling made him determined to make sure no one at his former school would feel that way.

Strickland launched a GoFundMe fundraiser with an original goal of $200. He doubled his goal, raising $400 for McCurdy Elementary.

"They told me stories about how kids, there was a kid who didn't have enough money to pay for school lunch or pay for the pizza, and they were able to pull it from the fund and they're able to have pizza at school that day. It was amazing, and I'm really happy," Strickland told ABC News.

Now, he's working on eliminating all of the school lunch debt in the Hazelwood School District.

The fundraising campaign has amassed nearly $6,000.

"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," Strickland wrote on GoFundMe. "This will help many families who are struggling financially. Your generosity is greatly appreciated."

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