Church pays off student lunch debt after Seward cafeteria controversy

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Less than one week after a Seward student’s meal was thrown in the trash, a local church got involved in a big way.

Mercy City Church, which has locations in Lincoln and Seward, donated money to pay off every negative lunch balance in the Seward school district.

Controversy stirred last week after a cafeteria worker at Seward High School, who works for a third-party company, threw away a boy’s lunch in front of other students.

The boy said he had a negative account balance, which is why his meal was taken, though he did receive a sandwich and milk.

Last weekend after church, a member told Cassius Lee, a church leader, about the incident.

“Hearing what she did have to share, my heart just hurt,” Lee said. “So I knew there was something that we could do.”

He said he brought the situation to the church leadership the next morning, and they all agreed they should step up.

“What our hope was is that it would just bring some relief, it would inspire some people to let them know that good things are still happening,” founding pastor Matt Erikson said.

Erikson said the people of the church are always generous, so it had enough money to cover the bill without asking for a special offering.

The total was around $1,200. Lee said it made the perfect holiday gift for the community.

“In simply wiping out a negative balance for them, my prayer is that they experience Jesus from this,” Lee said.

Erikson said the school was extremely supportive of the idea.

“We were able to reach out and get in touch with the school board, and right away they responded and allowed us to come alongside them and partner with them,” he said.

Lee and Erikson said the congregation was in support of the donation.

“We do have a church that is full of generous people, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Lee said.

Erikson agreed: “If there’s an opportunity, the people of Mercy City are going to show up, and they’re going to show out.”

Erikson said they like to lead by example by stepping up to do these sorts of partnerships, big or small.

“That’s kind of what we hope to just continue to spread,” he said. “That there are good people doing good things for good reasons.”

Categories: Education News, News, Seward, Top Stories