BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) — Paying off student lunch debts has been a trending act of kindness recently, and one salon in Black River Falls is also joining in to help out.
In Black River Falls, if a student has a negative balance of $25 or more, they are not eligible to receive hot lunch.
“We found out here in Black River Falls there is a $30,000 debt and the students weren’t able to get a hot lunch,” said owner of BRF Studio 107 Lisa Nieman.
BRF studio 107 hosted a cut-a-thon on Sunday to help those students.
“We have six stylists working and we’re hoping to get as many through the door as we possibly can,” Nieman said. “We discounted the haircuts, women’s haircuts are $15 and men’s and kids are $10. We’re selling t-shirts that say believe there is good in the world, and a bake sale, and raffles.”
Nieman is no stranger to giving back.
“This is the second cut-a-thon we’ve done,” she said. “We did another one for one of my employees who has downs syndrome, she had two brain surgeries and that one went really well we did 103 haircuts.”
But tackling the issue of student lunch debt was actually her cousin’s idea.
“Just finding out that we had such a huge debt in the community and then knowing that those kids wouldn’t be able to have a hot lunch at school just made me want to raise money and make that lunch available for them and to help out the families,” said Nieman’s cousin, Lisa Rochester.
Nieman was born and raised in Black River Falls, and says the issue is very personal for her saying that all the proceeds from the cut-a-thon will go towards paying off the debt.
“I have two kids that go to black river school district, I have a kindergartner and a second grader and I can’t imagine,” she said. “Some of their friend’s families don’t have the money to pay for school lunches and it just breaks my heart.”
Rochester says the event was very busy with people lining up by the building an hour early.
“We’ve been really busy from 12:30 on, we had people lining up before 12:30 and it’s been pretty busy all the way through,” she said.
Nieman says the support of the community is heartwarming and overwhelming.
“I kind of get overwhelmed with emotion that so many people care about the kids in our community.”