(CBS4) – Rachael Ray welcomed a mother from Boulder to her show on Thursday. The Rachael Ray show, which airs on CBS4 at 9 a.m. on weekday mornings, featured Kate Lacroix and her ongoing efforts to pay off school lunch debt in Boulder Valley School District.

(credit: CBS)

After seeing someone else eliminate all the layaway debt at a store, Lacroix got the idea to do the same for the Boulder Valley School District lunch program.

“I knew that school lunch shaming existed across the country. School lunch debt is when parents can’t afford to pay for their student’s lunch. The kids still get to eat, but (the family) gets a bill,” she said.

Lacroix said since starting the effort, she has heard from people around the country who want to start similar initiatives.

“Were you surprised at the national outcry and help and love that you got from this?” Ray asked Lacroix in the studio.

“I was,” Lacroix replied. “I was a woman who started this in my kitchen in my pajamas and the next thing I know I had a boy breaking open his piggy bank from Chicago to give $4 … and then hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, the food service director there wrote to me on Facebook and donated and I just thought ‘We really have something on our hands here.'”

Lacroix’s ultimate goal is to raise $232,000 — which is what the district told her the balance was. When she went on the show, the program had raised $38,000. But Ray had a surprise in store.

“We wanted to help you, and we reached out to these nice people — they’re our new friends at Cali’flour Foods — and they’re donating $10,000. So now we’re at $48,000!” Ray said.

Lacroix is accepting donations for the projects on a GoFundMe page. The Boulder Valley School District has also set up a website where it is accepting donations directly.

“True happiness is giving to others and so this isn’t some grand campaign for attention beyond helping people get fed and feel good about their kids being nourished instead of shamed,” Lacroix said.

Ray told Lacroix to come back on the show once the campaign has reached its goal.

Learn more about Cali’flour Foods at califlourfoods.com. Watch Lacroix’s complete appearance on the show in the video below:

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