How Los Angeles businesses and a hashtag kept kids fed in the midst of a fake threat

A fake threat closed the Los Angeles Unified School District Tuesday. Here's how some stepped up to relieve the tension parents faced because of the situation.
Dec 17, 2015

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  • After the sudden closure of more than 900 Los Angeles Unified School District campuses and 187 charter schools because of a bomb threat, thousands of parents were left figuring out what to do in regards to last-minute child care.

  • The threat was later determined to be a hoax, but with school canceled for the day, many of the district's some 655,000 students had no place to go. Parents faced the strain of making other plans for their children amidst the chaos while still fulfilling work duties.

  • With this in mind, LAUSD leaders called for unity, CBS LA reported.

  • "We need the cooperation of the whole of Los Angeles today," CBS LA quoted LAUSD Board of Education President Steve Zimmer as saying. "We need families and neighbors to work together with our schools and with our employees to make sure our kids are safe throughout the day. We need employers to show the flexibility that a situation like this demands. We ask you to show the maximum possible flexibility with your employees who are primarily mothers and fathers and guardians today in this situation."

  • Numerous LA businesses and organizations didn't stop at flexibility, though, also lending a hand.

  • Natalie Schachar wrote for the Los Angeles Business Journal that local businesses responded quickly to the closure: Restaurants offered free lunches to students, museums waived fees to visit and businesses allowed their employees' children to join them at work.

  • The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce encouraged employers to make it "Take Your Child to Work Day," LABJ reported.

  • School's cancellation affected all parents involved, but Erica Williams Simon wrote for Upworthy on one demographic in particular that needed help: children of low-income families.

  • Missing work for low-wage working parents proved an "unthinkable" option, Upworthy wrote. Also, students who rely on school meal programs faced the possibility of no lunch.

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  • Fortunately, there was a hashtag for that.

  • "By mid-morning, hundreds of people were using the hashtag #LALunch to ask restaurants to offer free meals to the more than three-quarters of the district's students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals," Upworthy's report read.

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  • And numerous businesses obliged.

  • People hope "love will conquer the fear" that created situations like the bomb threat and prevent similar events in the future — but reaction to the closure shows the importance of community, the article read.

  • "If bomb threats and school closings are a sign of these scary times, let's not forget that these small acts of kindness and compassion are, too," Upworthy wrote.

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Payton Davis is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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