Food for Thought

  • Saint Paul Public Schools is truly grateful to the many hundreds of donors who have paid off student lunch debt with contributions to this project and to the Philando Feeds the Children fund

    “No child goes hungry so we ensure that every student has breakfast and also lunch whether they can pay or not,” Stacy Koppen, SPPS Nutritional Services Director told WCCO. “When a student couldn’t pay for their lunch, a lot of times Philando actually paid for their lunch out of his own pocket. This not only honors Philando and his memory but it also carries on the mission that he really and truly felt in his heart.”
    While 40 SPPS schools provide lunch to all students at no charge, another 28 do not. That means lunch debt will accrue each school year.

    About 70 percent of SPPS students qualify for free lunches, but many parents aren’t aware of the program, struggle with the application, or end up earning as little as $10 too much to qualify, Koppen told the Star Tribune.

    By the end of the school year, about 2,000 students end up owing money for lunch, she said. About 900 kids started this school year in debt from last year.

    Your financial support will pay off lunch debt for families and ensure students get a nutritious midday meal each school day.
    Last year, a social media movement began to pay off the school lunch debt owed by families in Minneapolis Public Schools. SPPS started getting calls about the situation in our district. In response we established the Food for Thought Campaign, where we raised more than $50,000.

    We hardly have words to express our gratitude for this outpouring of generosity so we say, simply and with full hearts, thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign so far.

    You can still help pay off debt for every family, ensuring all students get a nutritious midday meal each school day, by visiting

    To donate to a specific school, write the school's name in the "Tribute or Memorial Dedication" box on the GiveMN donation form.

    Non-specific donations to this project will go to a special fund to reduce students' lunch debt. 

    You may also send a check, made out to SPPS Food for Thought, to:
    Saint Paul Public Schools
    Grants Management
    360 Colborne St.
    St. Paul, MN 55102
    Call (651) 744-1282 for more information. 

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