Anonymous Gift Helps Johnston Students

A quiet and unassuming donation has left nearly 150 Johnston elementary school students and their families with one less thing to worry about as they start the new year.

At the January 9 Johnston Board of Education meeting, board members approved an anonymous donation of $13,250 to cover elementary school lunch account balances with an outstanding debt of $10 or more. Each of the five Johnston elementary schools had a number of students with school meal balances in the red.

Photo of a tray with school lunch

School lunches provide a complete nutritious meal for students, helping them stay focused and alert for the day.

LaRae Doll, JCSD Director of Nutrition Services, said there is a tiered approach to making sure families are notified when lunch account balances run low, such as weekly calls to the parents from the lunch clerk, principal contact with the family, and a free and reduced lunch application sent home. However, there are still times when the negative balance looms. This anonymous donation helps the families start the second semester with a clear mind about dollars owed.

“Each family received a letter stating their negative balance had been dismissed due to this donation,” Doll said. “It is an incredibly kind act and one that greatly helps families and students.”

Doll said the gift goes beyond a monetary gesture.

“Having a belly full of nutritious food from school breakfasts and lunches helps students stay focused and ready to learn during the school day. When families know their children are well fed at school, it’s one less thing for them to worry about.”

There are approximately 3130 elementary students, grades K-5 in the district; 19% qualify for free and reduced lunch.