Steve Korn

You launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay off school lunch debt—and it went viral! How did it get started?

It all started with a video about lunch-shaming that I saw posted on Facebook. The video featured some severe lunch-shaming practices, like throwing out perfectly good food because a student couldn't pay for it, stamping students on their arm or hand to say they owe money, and the outright denial of food. It was heartbreaking to hear about. We have a third grader in public school, and just thinking about our child being lunch-shamed made me ache for the children who actually do get lunch-shamed. I wanted to do something about it. First, I called my son's elementary school to find out what its total lunch debt was. Then I thought, "Hey, let's see what the whole Seattle school district debt total is. Maybe the community and other parents would want to help!" So I started the GoFundMe campaign to include the whole district, and it just took off from there.

What has the response been so far?

The response has been so overwhelmingly positive! At least the majority of it. I love how the community got together and showed their support for these kids. I'm glad that people know this is happening and that it has to stop. It doesn't even matter that some people are saying some negative things, because at least it's being talked about. And maybe, just maybe, the right people will listen and make sure all children get lunch regardless of their family's financial status.

It looks like at least some of the right people have noticed—singer John Legend donated $5,000 to the campaign. What was it like meeting him?

Honestly, it was legendary! He's such an amazing performer and artist. My wife and I loved every minute of his performance. He's such a nice guy. We weren't expecting a celebrity to donate to our local cause, let alone give us concert tickets with meet-and-greet passes to his sold-out show! It was amazing!

Where's a great place to bring the family where both the kids AND the adults are happy?

My family loves the Pacific Science Center! And we love going to the fountain at Seattle Center during the summer to cool off. We also enjoy going to the Bite of Seattle.

What are your Father's Day plans?

For Father's Day, we will most likely go out for a lunch or dinner to celebrate. Spending time with my family is one of the best gifts! recommended