Chobani founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya has made it his mission to use his $1.7 billion net worth to make the world a better place.
After hearing about a decision by the Warwick Public School District in Rhode Island to serve nothing but sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches to students with outstanding lunch bills, he decided to do something about it.
Many were outraged after hearing of the policy change and took matters into their own hands.
A GoFundMe was set up to raise the funds via crowdfunding.
Ulukaya, who has more than enough capital to cover it, simply stepped in and paid the debt—in full.
In a statement on Twitter, Ulukaya said:
"as a parent, news of #WarwickPublicSchools breaks my heart. every child should have access to natural, nutritious & delicious food, so @Chobani is doing our small part to help pay this debt"
"business must do its part.. our responsibility as members of community. who will join us?"
He expanded on this in a video clip.
"We'll take care of this school's bill, because everyone at Chobani was [heartbroken], and they're stepping up, and they're going to do something about it."
"But it's just small. We need everywhere, everywhere around the country, to eliminate this for all. Forever."
You can view that video statement below:
as a parent, news of #WarwickPublicSchools breaks my heart. every child should have access to natural, nutritious &… https://t.co/J0d3jD9Ujn— Hamdi Ulukaya (@Hamdi Ulukaya)1557431577.0
Chobani is also donating yogurt to the school district to further alleviate their food costs.
The Chobani Twitter page recently posted a call to action in support of the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2019, which has been read by the Senate and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, to prevent schools from passing policies that discriminate against students with outstanding lunch bills.
Access to better food should be a right, not a privilege. No child should go hungry or be shamed if they can't affo… https://t.co/4WX9YQL7oM— Chobani (@Chobani)1557501613.0
Many on Twitter were thankful for Ulukaya's donation, and his assertion that we need to do better.
@hamdiulukaya @Chobani You have given me my daily ration of hope. 🙏— One Of The Squad ✊ 🌹 (@One Of The Squad ✊ 🌹)1557497024.0
@hamdiulukaya @Chobani Thank you! I knew it would be a small expense for some business and good advertising for sam… https://t.co/msw8XYZNmZ— Elena Carlena (@Elena Carlena)1557452860.0
@hamdiulukaya @Chobani This man is a legend in m opinion. Like he said though, this is only a small part, but it's… https://t.co/rprR2dFZNp— ⌗ᴀᴜsᴛɪɴ💀ᴡᴇsᴛᴍᴏᴏʀᴇ (@⌗ᴀᴜsᴛɪɴ💀ᴡᴇsᴛᴍᴏᴏʀᴇ)1557508141.0
@hamdiulukaya @Chobani As a Rhode Island resident, a parent, and a human being, I wish to thank you for your kindne… https://t.co/zOiery25Gy— Chéri Faso Olf (@Chéri Faso Olf)1557442680.0
@hamdiulukaya @Chobani As a teacher who has paid school nutrition debts for many students who would otherwise be de… https://t.co/Nz0YI6CBaB— Ana ❤️s 🐘 (@Ana ❤️s 🐘)1557540419.0
Many also appreciated Chobani's support of the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act.
@Chobani Chobani - well done. This makes my heart melt. Being a young child growing up in a low income household,… https://t.co/8BKZqOt6gf— Brother Resister (@Brother Resister)1557516212.0
@Chobani Yay! Chobani has earned my respect and my business. Thank you for your humanity— Michael Bird (@Michael Bird)1557502153.0
@Chobani I LOVE your heart! Thank you from all those who have had moments when money meant the difference between a… https://t.co/aAVeH4VK4f— Julie Wierson (@Julie Wierson)1557631971.0
There were also many calls for all school meals to be free and there are districts throughout the country where that is the reality.
All children need good nutrition to learn and grow, and to be successful in school.
Shaming those whose parents are unable to pay their lunch bills is not the way to help students succeed.