Dine with Dignity Sponsorship Program

Sponsor the cost of lunch debt at an MCPS school to help students dine with dignity

The USDA is waiving the collection of school lunch fees for the FY2022 school year. In response, the MCPS Educational Foundation is launching a new campaign that will give donors up to 18 months (July 2021 through December 2022) to fund a school sponsorship by making a recurring gift of a modest amount. 

This is an expansion on the Dine with Dignity Program, which has been raising funds to help settle end-of-year school lunch debt balances since its inception in 2018. The fund was created to help students who cannot afford a lunch, but do not qualify for a free, traditional meal per the Free And Reduced-priced Meals System (FARMS) requirements. Prior to November 2018, students with negative school lunch balances would be issued alternative meals. This practice signaled the students’ indebtedness to their peers, increasing the potential for the students to feel humbled. (Fortunately, MCPS has stopped this practice.) By covering the students’ debt, the Dine with Dignity Program helps eliminate monetary concerns about providing every student the lunch of their choice, regardless of debt.

We know so much more about the students who are unable to pay their accrued lunch debt. We know they account for just 10% of our total enrollment. We also know that 185 (90%) of our 206 schools have annual accrued lunch debt less than or equal to $2,000 for all students; and half of these schools have accrued debt less than $800.

It is with this in mind, that the Educational Foundation is launching this special sponsorship campaign to get all 206 MCPS schools sponsored for Fiscal Year 2022. With this program, a monthly donation starting as low as $2.80 per month could cover the annual lunch debt for an entire school and ensure that every student has the opportunity to dine with dignity.

Become a sponsor today