John Legend arrives at the Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Photo: Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Photo: Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

John Legend donates $5,000 to cover school lunch debt in Seattle

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The donation was made over the weekend to a GoFundMe website set up by Seattle resident Jeffery Lew.

Lew had set up the account three weeks ago, and it has gathered huge community support.

Lew said at first he had no idea who the donor was. The donation – the biggest from a single donor – was made under the name John Stephens.

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The donation was made under the name John Stephens.

Lew then showed it to his wife, who recognized that might be the birth name of one of her favorite performers.

“She was a big fan of John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen, so she’s like, 'Oh my God, I think that’s John Legend,'” said Lew. “I was like no way it can be him.”

Lew then emailed John Stephens to asked if he was indeed Legend.

“Sure enough, in 10 minutes, I got an email from John Legend himself with the subject line 'Yes it’s me,'" said Lew. “And I was like floored!”

Lew thanked Legend via Twitter.

In response to Lew’s Twitter message thanking him, Legend wrote: “My pleasure, we should have free lunch for all of our public students.”

Lew later found out through social media that Legend, on the same day, also donated $5,000 to help pay for medical treatment for a young girl in Cleveland.

“He’s a very generous man,” said Lew. "I respect him. He inspires me.”

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Lew wrote on his GoFundMe page:

"As of May 9, 2017, the total school lunch debt at my child’s school is $97.10. My first goal is to have that paid off. The second goal is to help pay off the school lunch debt for the entire Seattle Public Schools district. 

"Many children depend on a nutritious lunch to help them through their school day. Per the 2015-16 report by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State, 36 percent of Seattle Public School District students are on free or reduced-price meals. This is based on parents filling out meal applications. If a child is unable to pay for their meal, a debt has started. Families will receive an invoice from the school district to pay the debt."

There is another GoFundMe page to cover lunch debt at Everett, Washington, schools.

– contributed to this report.

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