TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Natasha Goodley doesn’t have children in Hillsborough County public schools, but she desperately wants to help them.

“This was just our way of saying Merry Christmas,” Goodley said.

Goodley started a GoFundMe page dedicated to paying off overdue lunch balances for Potter Elementary School.

The goal was $500.

“It just blew me away. It went viral. People started donating and the next thing I knew, I had over the $500,” Goodley said.

So she expanded it out to include children at seven lower-income Title 1 schools in Hillsborough County and upped the goal to $3,500.

“I just want to have it paid off by Christmas so when the kids come back to school, they have a zero balance.”

At Potter, school leaders are grateful.

“Any type of relief they can receive, I think will be a great help for our families in this neighborhood,” said Eric Felder, assistant principal.

Sadly, this is a cyclical problem and some parents who either don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch for their children or for whatever reason haven’t filled out the paperwork for it, at times, end up with balances over and over again.

Goodley knows this may be a temporary fix.

“It is a band aide. It is a band aide. If nothing more, it will allow a child who may have been eating a cheese sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a hot meal for at least five days. That’s our Christmas gift to them,” she said.

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