Yogurt company to pay off school lunch debt in Rhode Island city

 —Mark Lennihan / AP, File

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — Yogurt company Chobani says it will pay the school lunch debt of families attending a Rhode Island school district.

Warwick Public Schools made national news when it announced that children in families who owe money for school lunches would get cold sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches instead of a hot lunch. The system later reversed the decision.

The school district said it was owed $77,000 for unpaid school lunches and couldn’t afford to assume more debt.

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in a statement Thursday that as a parent, the news broke his heart. He says access to nutritious food should be a right, not a privilege.

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He called on other businesses to step up.

Several other businesses and organizations have offered to help pay the lunch debt.

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