Deer Valley dad starts GoFundMe to pay off students' $50K lunch debt

PHOENIX - A north Phoenix father is on a mission to dwindle the Deer Valley school district's lunch debt. 

Just this school year, Deer Valley students have accrued nearly $50,000 in unpaid school lunches. 

"These things add up. I know lunch for one day may not cost much, but it keeps adding up the more and more they go without paying," Rigo Gonzalez said.

There was a time when Gonzalez struggled to pay for his children's $3 per day lunches. 

"The principal here was aware we were having a tough time and she reached out to other parents at the school," he explained.

After Sonoran Foothills Elementary School rallied to help the Gonzalez family, Rigo knew he had to pay it forward. 

That's when he inquired about the lunch debt and started a GoFundMe page to help pay it off.

About 29-percent of students in the Deer Valley district are apart of the free or reduced lunch program. 

If a child's lunch debt goes unpaid, the district may send the family to collections. 

Gonzalez never wants any family to feel unable to pay.

"I was really overwhelmed by the generosity and I guess this is my way of paying it forward," Gonzalez said.

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