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Cleveland mom paying off city's student lunch debt

Posted at 11:50 AM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-07 16:50:57-05

CLEVELAND, Okla.--A Cleveland woman is paying off the school system’s student lunch debt for total strangers. 

Rachelle Denny said, “This is just so awesome that somebody would take the time out of their busy schedule to help other kids and parents that they don’t even know.”
Denny has two children enrolled in Cleveland Public Schools. She also has roughly $200 in lunch debt.

The mother explained, “It just so happened that both of my kids got audited at the same time. Once they pull them for an audit, then they stop their free lunches.”

That debt started piling up on the mom as she filled out paperwork through child support and disability to get her kids’ lunches back. 

Denny is one of many parents Rachelle Burgess is helping out. 

Burgess said, “It made me sad just thinking that there are students don’t have the funds.”

Burgess made a post on Facebook and instantly started getting money. She said, “Just now, when I picked up my daughter from school, a lady handed me $20 because she saw it on Facebook.”

Denny said, “I sent her a personal message and said thank you for doing this because my kids will benefit from this.”

Burgess has raised $1,400 of the $2,500 needed to pay off the lunch debt. It’s that kind of generosity that Burgess says is not uncommon in Cleveland. 

Burgess said, “Our community always does this, though. When somebody reaches out for help, especially with the schools, our community helps.” She added, “I’m hoping that we get everybody back in the black with a fresh start. It’s easier to go forward if you’re not behind.”

You can help reach the $2,500 goal by PayPal at or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 362 Cleveland, OK 74020. Checks can be made to Cleveland Public Schools Lunch Program.

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