Three cheers for Ben Hofer.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
May 03, 2019
Kids in School Cafeteria
Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

Did you know that around 5,000 students in the Austin Independent School District carry a school lunch debt? When 14-year-old Ben Hofer learned that sad fact, he decided to do something about it.

Hofer, an eighth grader at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin started a LunchCounts! fundraiser on GoFundMe after being inspired to help pay off lunch debts at local Austin schools.

"About 53 percent of the district's students receive free or reduced priced meals from the district. Students who receive free meals don't accrue debt, but those who are eligible for reduced price meal, as well as those who pay full price, can," writes Melissa B. Taboada in her profile on Hofer's efforts for the Austin American-Statesman.

"I can see how having money some days and not having money some days can be very stressful for the kids and their parents," Ben said in an article for the Austin American-Statesman. "Lunch is essential for your day. And the school loses money because of it. It's just bad all around."

Initially, Hofer set his crowdfunding campaign goal for $3,200 but increased it to $7,000 once he surpassed his initial objective. Currently, he's raised $5,700 to support Akins High School, Paredes Middle School, and Blazier Elementary School.

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Hofer is hoping to make his fundraising an annual event if he hits his goal in 2019. You can make a donation on here.

Cheers to this caring youngster — keep up the great work, Ben.