Anonymous donor covers unpaid school lunch bills

By Sierra Brown


Via Wyoming News Exchange

GREEN RIVER — Many families whose kids eat meals at school in Sweetwater County School District No. 2 got an unexpected Christmas gift from an anonymous donor Thursday.

Nutrition Service at Sweetwater County School District No. 2 received a phone call asking what the total negative balance for school meals was. A little while later, a $5,000 cashier's check arrived to pay off the 

accounts for every student with a negative balance.

When the call came, there was about $4,500 worth of unpaid lunches, but the extra $500 also paid for that day's meals as well. At the end of the day Thursday, the total negative balance was $0, according to Nutrition Service Director Linda Martin.

It was the first donation that came with no conditions and paid every account regardless of the family's situation, Martin said.

In addition to the anonymous donation, the department had its Christmas party that afternoon. They had plenty to celebrate.

"The real blessing of this check is it happened to come in literally within an hour of me sending several families over to collections. So, as a result of this payment, that averted that at Christmas time. We are 

very grateful we didn't have to send anyone in at Christmas time," Martin said.

Martin noted that several years ago students had their trays taken from them if they could not pay for their meals, but that has changed. It is now the district's policy never to take a meal from a child, because it 

is harmful to their health and academic performance.

The new policy has made it more difficult for the district to keep up on their negative balances, which is why donations are so appreciated.

It is not the first donation Nutrition Services has received, but it is the only one they received this year — and few others compare to the size of Thursday's unexpected gift.

Martin wanted to extend "a huge thank you from our district. The gift that they gave to the families was just huge. When we get calls from parents, who are in tears because they received the message from us saying their accounts have been paid in full we know how much that means to the people in our community. Just a huge thank you to our anonymous donor."