Local charities combined their efforts to pay off overdue lunch fees at four schools in Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston counties.

The Lowcountry Blessing Box Project partnered with another nonprofit organization, I Heart Hungry Kids, and Queen Street Hospitality Group and Charleston Restaurant Foundation for Catch Up on Lunch.

The Catch Up on Lunch program was a fundraising effort to repay lunch debt for children in Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston counties.

The groups were able to raise $25,000 to pay off lunch debts at the four following schools:

  • Flowertown Elementary, Dorchester County, $8,230.93
  • Philip Simmons Elementary, Berkeley County, $5,017.40
  • CE Williams Middle School, Charleston County, $7,298.12
  • Stiles Point Elementary, Charleston County, $1,781.97

During the past school year Dorchester, Berkeley, and Charleston County schools had a combined school lunch debt of $600,000.

Past due lunches can be one of the biggest burdens for schools.

Often times overdue lunch fees can take away from funding for classrooms. These include classroom materials, art materials, staff development and other needs.

Schools are forced to choose between incurring the debt or feeding students.

Since hungry students are unable to focus on their studies, most schools are choosing to give meals to students with past due balances,” Katie Dahlheim, the founder of the Lowcountry Blessings Box stated in a press release.

“Catch Up on Lunch” raised money through a variety of means including donations from individuals and families, businesses and “spirit nights” held at local restaurants where proceeds were donated to their efforts.