(FOX 2) - A restaurant owner's noble mission to pay down school lunch debt in Oakland County appears to be gaining steam in Lansing, where the governor is expected to propose free breakfast and lunch for every student in Michigan public schools.
A proposal within Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's budget includes funding that would feed 1.4 million kids every day. It would save families an estimated $850 a year in costs.
It would also help districts pay down the debt that families have accrued when their kids buy food at schools.
Whitmer is expected to unveil her new budget proposal Wednesday in Lansing.
"It’s our hope that Gov. Whitmer and the new leaders of the legislature will listen to this, take up the cause and really take a hard look at what opportunities exist for us to be able to have a long term solution here," Business Owner Patrick Hingst said.
Hingst oversees operations at several restaurants in Lapeer County. Working alongside his wife Jessica Harold, together the two have crafted a plan to help reduce the student lunch debt that nearby districts have.
Both have designated Giving Tuesdays at their restaurants where proceeds are sent directly to their student lunch debt initiative. You can read more about the program here.
Whitmer has also pushed for affordable pre-k school for all kids in Michigan as well.
While it's unclear if the school lunch program will be there when the budget is approved, Michigan does have a multi-billion dollar surplus.
"Kids should be focused on learning and growing in school, and for too long, too many children in Michigan have skipped meals or gone hungry," said Oakland Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson. "Governor Whitmer’s proposal to deliver free breakfast and lunch to all 1.4 million students in Michigan will save families at least $850 a year and ensure no kid goes hungry at school."