"I am launching a campaign to help pay off all student lunch debt at my children’s school district, Deer Valley Unified," Rigo Gonzalez wrote on the GoFundMe page he created. "Deer Valley policy states that children will receive lunch regardless of any amount owed, however, debt is still accrued to the child’s account that the parent is then responsible for paying back."
Gonzalez knows all about getting help in a time of need.
Last year, one of his kids had some serious health problems, and, out of the blue, the principal at Sonoran Foothills School in North Phoenix launched an impromptu fundraiser for the Gonzalez family.
"It was all anonymous,” said Gonzalez. “They had no idea who they were donating to, and just for them to reach into their pockets and say, 'Hey, we have a family in need and let's help them out,' that was tremendous."
Now, the Phoenix dad is looking to Pay it Forward right back.
[MORE: Pay It Forward]
Gonzalez has just kicked off a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for cash-strapped parents in the Deer Valley School District.
"There are other families in the district that are facing struggles themselves, and so any way we could help eliminate their financial burden would be wonderful,” said Gonzalez.
The focus of this fundraiser is to pay off the school district's student lunch debt, which currently stands around $48,000.
A federal program provides lunches to kids in need at a reduced cost, but thousands of struggling families still can’t afford it.
Deer Valley is one of many districts that provide kids meals regardless if they can pay, but the costs add up.
As of 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $1,200.
"I hope this gesture will help somebody who really needs the help,” Sharon Matt, the principal at Sonoran Foothills, said. “I think it was a very kind thing of him to do because we certainly didn’t expect anything."
"If the support is overwhelming, which I hope it will be, maybe we can keep it going to maybe try another district," said Gonzalez.
The reduced price of school lunches ranges from 30 cents to 40 cents per meal.
If you'd like to help, check out the GoFundMe page Gonzalez created.
"Any money donated will go towards this cause in hopes that all lunch debt will be paid off," he explains on the page. Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.