JUPITER, Fla. – Andrew Levy, an agent with Echo Fine Properties in Jupiter, knows it’s his job as a real estate professional to keep up with what’s going on in the community.
“I watch the local news, check local Facebook groups, and attend local government and community meetings,” says Levy.
But staying on top of what’s happening isn’t just for business purposes: He’s able to discover areas of need and help out, which is the part that Levy appreciates the most. For example, he found out about – and then paid off – almost $1,000 in lunch debts at two Jupiter schools.
He first heard about that need through a Facebook group.
“I’m a member of a few Jupiter Facebook groups, one of them is called Jupiter Mamas. Although I’m not a mama,” laughs Levy. “But they share a lot of valuable news and information. In fact, any update that comes out of that group goes straight to the top of my newsfeed.”
From that group, a post came up about how many of the local schools had lunch debt.
“I thought, ‘What does that even mean?’” says Levy. “And, I wondered how that would impact the kids. With all the pressures for children in school today, to have to worry about getting lunch is a horrible thought.”
Levy researched the issue, drove over to the food services management division for Palm Beach County schools and told them that he wanted to clear the debts.
“I took my checkbook out and wrote the check. At that time, it was about $944,” he said. He also discovered that lunches cost between $2 and $2.30 per child in elementary and middle schools. Students with lunch debt aren’t denied lunches at school but will get a sandwich instead of a regular entrée.
At the time Levy donated, Palm Beach County had more than $51,000 in lunch debt.
Since then, Levy has started a GoFundMe page called, A Child Can’t Learn Hungry. To date, he’s raised $4,248 and that money will go directly to Palm Beach County schools to pay off lunch debt.
Already, $4,000 has paid off lunch debts in nine Jupiter schools.
“I hope to continue this for years and grow it countywide – and, one day, statewide,” says Levy.
The story about Levy went viral and he got calls from national daytime shows as well as invites from reporters.
“I was on the front page of CNN online. The story was trending for over 48 hours. I even had a headline news special on me where I did a video chat with a reporter,” he says.
Levy has big plans for the future of A Child Can’t Learn Hungry.
“I like the grassroots side of this, which is the GoFundMe page, but I would also like to reach out to corporations to sponsor donations because we have a strong, tightknit community. I also think we can grow and expand by becoming a 501(c)(3) organization,” he says.
Levy adds, “I learned from my father the importance of proving a concept locally before expanding it, but I do have big plans. You can’t neglect what needs to be done in your community, and real estate agents are perfectly positioned to hear about those community needs.”
To donate to A Child Can’t Learn Hungry, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/childrencantlearnhungry