PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The yogurt company Chobani says it will pay the school lunch debt of students in a district that made headlines by offering the kids cold sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches instead of a hot meal.

The mayor's office confirmed Friday it's co-ordinating with Chobani to accept nearly US$50,000 for Warwick Public Schools. Other businesses and organizations had offered to donate.

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in a tweet Thursday that as a parent, the news broke his heart. He says access to nutritious food should be a right, not a privilege.

The district had said it was owed $77,000 and couldn't assume more debt. It later reversed the decision.