Perimeter Roofing CEO Todd Price and his employees believe that no child should go hungry, especially during lunch at school.
“We all have kids,” Price said. “We’d sell everything we have to make sure they don’t go hungry.”
To help ensure that, Perimeter Roofing recently embarked on a statewide elementary school campaign to pay off childrens’ school lunch balances, which is gaining attention online through the hashtag #schoollunchchallege.
The idea was thought up by the Lawrenceville-based company’s COO Ray Little, who attended Head Elementary as a fifth-grader in Lilburn in 1988.
“It’s not their fault (if they can’t pay),” Price said. “We realized this is a way for us to step up and impact the community.”
Price, a 2003 graduate of Parkview High School, said each week, Perimeter visits two to three schools, checkbook in hand.
So far, the company has visited Harmony Elementary, Dacula Elementary, Meadowcreek Elementary, Pharr Elementary, Brookwood Elementary, Britt Elementary and Head Elementary — all of which are Gwinnett County public schools.
GCPS policy allows elementary students to charge a balance up to $11.25 before being given an alternative meal, which consists of an entree.
“We’ve had a lot of people recommend schools in the area, which is awesome because this is where we’re from,” Price said. “It’s started becoming more broad that we’re getting requests from people in south Georgia and north Georgia. It’s becoming more spread out, but it is awesome in general.”
Because of how widespread it has become, Little said they have challenged other companies to join in the campaign.
“We can’t go to every school in Georgia, but we want to bring awareness of this issue,” Little said. “If every county has a few companies join in, we can accomplish our goal of getting every elementary school this year, and then let’s do it again next year.”
As a school district, 55 percent of Gwinnett students qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program which offers free or reduced lunches to students based on household income.
According to the USDA, a family with one student qualifies for reduced lunch with a household income below $38,433 and free lunch at a level below $27,014. With each additional student, the threshold for both income caps rises by $7,992 for reduced lunch and $5,016 for free lunch.
A standard lunch at GCPS elementary schools costs $2.25 and decreases to $0.40 for reduced lunches.
“Sometimes these school lunches are the only meal kids will get,” Price said. “It’s what makes this cause such an important one to ensure that they are getting what they need.”
During a visit to Head Elementary on Oct. 23, Price gave school principal Lisa Johnson and cafeteria manager Doris Brewer a check worth $132.71 to pay off all overdue lunch balances.
Brewer said she couldn’t believe the roofing company wanted to pay off lunch charges when they first reached out to her.
“I wondered if the offer was legit and called my supervisor at the (Instructional Support Center) and they said ‘Yes, yes, yes,’” Brewer said. “In this day and age, it’s hard to believe when people give you things sometimes. We’re just grateful, very grateful.”
Johnson said the school “could not run without support from businesses and individuals in the community.”
“The sky is the limit to what we can do,” Price said. “The more we grow as a business, the more we want to help. We don’t have a set goal in mind; we just want to do as much as possible. These kids are the future.”
Perimeter Roofing is in the process of setting up a 501(c)(3) called Perimeter Cares. Until then, they are advising individuals or businesses interested in help to contact them at 678-948-7663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.