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Johnston Iowa Lunch Debts Anonymously Paid Off

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By    |   Monday, 30 Jan 2017 08:00 AM

Johnston, Iowa school lunch debts of $13,250 for about 150 elementary students have been anonymously paid off.

The outstanding school lunch debt was cleared by the donation, which the Johnston Community School District, located just northwest of Des Moines, called a surprise, reported WHO-TV.

"Seeing an act like that come forward, and knowing it affected almost 150 students is something we haven't experienced here in this district," said school district communications director Laura Sprague.

"We don't get anonymous donations a lot. We have donations come in occasionally, but to have a donation of this size from an anonymous person, and so specific in what it wanted to target – it truly meets a need that often goes unspoken."

The Des Moines Register said about 19 percent of the district's 3,130 elementary school students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 16 percent of all students in the district qualify for some kind of food assistance.

"People don't really perceive Johnston as having this need, but there are definitely families who depend on this program," Sprague told the Register, noting the percentage of students who qualify for assistance has increased every year from about 12 percent five years ago.

The district sends notes home to parents when a student's lunch account runs over. The school's principal and lunch clerk then follows up with phone calls to the home.

Sprague said families are encouraged to apply for assistance if needed, where an elementary student's lunch can be reduced from $2.70 to 40 cents. She added that while there are some students in sixth through 12th grades with negative lunch balances, the donor targeted specifically elementary school students.

"We do know that one out of five students come from food insecure homes," Timber Ridge Elementary School counselor Jan Maronn told WHO-TV. "Not necessarily here in Johnston, but definitely in our area. And so, it's important to understand that we're not any different than anyone else, and we have families that have that need."

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Johnston, Iowa school lunch debts of $13,250 for about 150 elementary students have been anonymously paid off.
johnston, iowa, lunch, debts
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2017-00-30
Monday, 30 Jan 2017 08:00 AM
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