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T.I. buys Florida teen’s school lunch for the year after she was denied food

After news of a teen at central Florida’s University High School reportedly being denied a school lunch spread online, Atlanta rapper T.I., outraged by the “despicable” incident, stepped in to help.

» RELATED: T.I. buys $20,000 worth of Christmas gifts for strangers at Atlanta Target

According to multiple Florida news stations, the student’s mother said her sophomore daughter came up 15 cents short while checking out on the first day of school.

“She puts her food on the tray, gets to the front, gives her number to the cashier, and she says, ‘Well, you owe 15 cents,’” mom Kimberly Aiken told ClickOrlando.com. “My daughter said she didn't have any money, so the cashier took her food.”

» RELATED: T.I. donates expensive, one-of-a-kind sneakers to help Houston residents

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Aiken said she had signed up for the free- and reduced-cost lunch program, which hadn’t taken effect yet.

“The school is always willing to work with students and families as needed,” Volusia County Public Schools spokesman Roger Edgcomb said in a statement to Orlando, Florida media. “The school will be contacting the family directly to help resolve this issue.”

When she showed up to pay for her meal on Wednesday — with money to make up for any account shortages — the sophomore’s meal had been taken care of.

The Atlanta rapper read about the incident after Morehouse College graduate and activist Shaun King shared the news on Instagram on Aug. 19.

America summed up in one tweet.

A post shared by Shaun King (@shaunking) on

“I’d like to take care of her school lunch for the year. I hate to hear this type of thing happening to our children,” the rapper wrote on Twitter. Such situations, he said, deter kids from coming to school.

According to Aiken, T.I. kept his word. She also created a separate GoFundMe for students and families who can’t afford school lunch.

About the Author

Fiza Pirani is a web producer and writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is also currently investigating immigrant and refugee mental health stigma and health care access as a recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.

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