Hundreds of thousands of dollars left unclaimed in lunch accounts due to coronavirus

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
How to claim your child's unused lunch money
How to claim your child's unused lunch money

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- COVID-19 prevented North Carolina students from finishing school in the classroom, and that means hundreds of thousands of dollars were unused in kid's lunch accounts.

If you want to get that lunch money back in your pocket, especially if you have a senior who graduated or a student who withdrew from the district, you may need to take action quickly or risk losing that money.

The Durham Public Schools system said it has $6,570.95 in lunch accounts for students who left the district or students who graduated. In Durham, there is no deadline to request the money back; it stays in the account until the money is requested, which you can do here.

Cumberland County Schools give parents and guardians 60 days after school ends to get their money back. For the 2019-2020 school year, Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services, Beth Maynard says 12th graders have a total of $15,087.58 remaining in their accounts; all other withdrawn students have a balance of $12,347.92 in accounts. Maynard adds, "We allow a period of 60 days after withdrawal to request a refund. For clarity, since there may be some questions related to the pandemic, we will consider May 22, the last calendar day of the school year, as the withdrawal date for graduating seniors." For Cumberland County, you can request the money through the K-12 Payment Center.

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Wake County Public School System has the most amount of money left in lunch accounts for seniors who graduated and students who left the district. The district has a total of $240,901.70 in lunch accounts for inactive students and students who just graduated. Here is a breakdown the district provided:

  • $159,883.51 is the total for withdrawn/inactive Pre-K through 11th grade
  • $13,132.46 is the current updated amount for inactive/withdrawn 12 graders who left during the year
  • $67,885.73 is the current updated amount for active 12th-grade students who just graduated

For Wake County, you can request lunch money by filling out this form. For more information about lunch money at WCPSS, click here.

It is important to note; these amounts are only for students who just graduated or have left the district. If your child has lunch money left in the account and stays in the district, it does carry over from year to year.

If you'd like to donate lunch money to an angel account, in Wake County, you can donate remaining funds to an Angel account, which can be set up here. In Cumberland County, parents can donate positive balances to cover negative balances by contacting the Child Nutrition office at 910-678-2502. In Durham County, parents can send an e-mail to or, and they can make the transfer. Written requests should be sent to: Durham Public Schools, School Nutrition Services, 1817 Hamlin Rd., Durham, NC 27704.