An anonymous donor paid the school cafeteria debt for almost a thousand students in the North East Independent School District last week.
Sharon Glosson, the district’s executive director of nutrition, said the one-time, $5,000 gift cleared all unpaid student accounts at the district’s elementary school kids.
“Our job is to feed kids,” Glosson said. “We're not bill collectors.… So when we have these families that are struggling, and they just don't fit into the box to get the resources that are available, it's really difficult.”
Glosson said that many North East families make a little too much money to qualify for free school lunches, but still struggle to pay for them.
“This puts stress on the family, as well as the students, when they know that they owe money in the cafeteria,” Glosson said. “We're just so thankful because we have such a generous community that continuously comes and fills the gap for these kids and these families in lots of different ways.”
About 48% of North East students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch in the 2018-2019 school year.
Glosson said North East ISD caps unpaid school lunch debts at $15 for elementary students, limiting the amount of debt families can accumulate.