Las Vegas Raiders Pledge To Pay Off Entire $500,000 School Lunch Debt In Nevada

by Leah Groth
Dustin Bradford/Getty

Just hours after officially relocating the legendary football franchise to Nevada, the Las Vegas Raiders made a major move to eliminate school lunch debt in the state

The Raiders football franchise officially relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas on January 22. Just hours into their residency, they made their first major play: by pledging to donate $500,000 toward completely eliminating school lunch debt in Nevada.

The half million dollar donation was made to the Nevada Department of Agriculture Meal Service program, providing lunch and breakfasts at public schools and non-profit charter schools in the state. In addition to the monetary contribution, a few of the team’s players, including fullback Alec Ingold and tight end Darren Waller, spent their Tuesday afternoon distributing lunches at a local elementary school.

“Today, we want to make a donation to the Nevada Department of Agriculture meal service program, which feeds kids lunch and breakfast at the schools. We are hoping to eliminate the debt that the entire state of Nevada has to do that project, and in that regard we are donating $500,000 to the program,” said Raiders Owner Mark Davis in a statement.

“Four years ago, we told the state of Nevada that you’re getting more than a football team, you’re getting an army, you’re getting the Raider Nation,” Raiders owner Mark Davis explained. “We told them they’d be getting an army and working in the community is the thing we do the best. Schools, charities, everywhere and anywhere we can make a difference.”

The school lunch debts are incurred by schools when families who don’t qualify for reduced prices or free lunch can’t afford school meals. This major donation will cover the deficit.

“We are proud to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders as the administrator of the organization’s community fund that will retire the cumulative school meal debt for eligible institutions currently participating in NSLP and SBP with the Nevada Department of Agriculture,” said Gian Brosco, President & CEO, Nevada Community Foundation. “As the Raiders prepare for their official arrival as our state’s first-ever NFL team, their positive impact on our community continues to grow as evidenced by this significant gesture. We commend Mark Davis for actively seeking opportunities like this that make a real difference for Nevada students and residents.”

The team’s first order of business did not go unnoticed, as everyone from the state’s governor Steve Sisolak to the Nevada Department of Agriculture expressed their appreciation on social media. Even fans of other NFL teams commended the Raiders for the inspired donation.

School lunch debt has been a hot topic in recent years. Due to the fact that many families can’t afford school lunches, school systems have amassed major deficits. Some have tried to refuse feeding students who haven’t paid their bill, while others have resorted to giving those in debt cheap lunches consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — which is the equivalent of shaming them. This has led some states — including California — to pass legislation so that schools have to feed kids, no matter what.

Hopefully other large companies, sports teams, and altruistic individuals will be inspired by the Las Vegas Raiders’ generous gesture, investing in their community and the children in it.