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Muslim Businessman Pays Lunch Debt for Rhode Island Students

A Muslim businessman will pay debts of students in a Rhode Island school district after hearing that those with unpaid balances on their lunch accounts wouldn’t receive suitable meals.

“As a parent, this news breaks my heart,” Chobani founder and CEO of Hamdi Ulukaya said in statement cited by The CNN.

“For every child, access to naturally nutritious and delicious food should be a right, not a privilege. When our children are strong, our families are stronger. And when our families are strong, our communities are stronger.

“Business can and must do its part to solve the hunger crisis in America and do its part in the communities they call home.”

Warwick Public School, Rhode Island, caused an uproar earlier this week when it announced that any students who had unpaid balances on their lunch accounts would receive a sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich until their balance was paid.

Several parents were furious about the school district’s decision to give students with lunch debt a limited midday-meal option.

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“Just give the kids lunch,” one parent wrote on the district’s Facebook page.

“We already lost a janitor, science teacher, don’t have air conditioning, we can’t spring for a chicken patty for a hungry kid? What if this is their only meal of the day?”

Paying off $47,650 of the $77,000 debt, the donation from Chobani will be used to pay the debts of low-income students, said Courtney Marciano, spokeswoman for the city of Warwick.

Chobani company’s name made the headlines in 2016 after its owner gave 10 percent of his company to the employees, worth 100,000’s of dollars for each employee. He also gave $700m to Syrian refugees.

The Muslim immigrant from Turkey came to the US 13 years ago with nothing.

Muslims in American are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan which started on May 6.