If you think there's nothing you can do to affect change in the world today, it's time you heard Ashley Ford's story.
With just one tweet, Ford helped launch a movement to ensure that all kids get access to school lunch. She simply asked people to pay off student lunch debts at their local schools — and boy, did it work. Thousands of dollars later, Ford's tweet has helped wipe the slate clean for students all over the country.
Here's the tweet that launched the movement:
A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) December 6, 2016
The school cafeteria is no place for the faint of heart
At many school districts, students who have unpaid balances on their school lunch accounts have their lunches taken away (and wasted) or they take cheese sandwiches in place of the hot lunch until their debts are paid. Some groups are working hard to end "lunch shaming" policies, but in the meantime, new stories emerge everyday about kids who go hungry rather than face the embarrassment of the school cafeteria.
Ford's tweet hit home with so many people because it offered people a simple, easy way to affect change in a world that seems to need a whole lot of support. At last count, Ford's tweet has been directly responsible for raising more than $157,000 to pay off student lunch debts across the U.S., from Bellevue, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Here are some of responses Ford's tweet generated:
obsessed with this. i was that kid that had an overdue account.— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) December 6, 2016
a friend and I, and our friends, cobbled together over $700 for all 39 kids who owed food $ at a school in NC.— Jan Yarborough (@JanY_Law) January 1, 2017
just called my district to ask about it and the Accounts manager cried. Not obtuse at all—grateful— Kate Schatz (@kateschatz) December 7, 2016
you are a true hero! Simple ideas that can change the world! @tomcolicchio— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) February 1, 2017
Ford's push — just a simple request in less than 140 characters — snowballed into a movement that gave tweeters a simple and effective way to act. And they responded by doing just that.
Think you don't have the time/money/energy to make a difference? Looks like now you do.