Anonymous benefactor who paid off $10,000 in school lunch debt swells our Grinch hearts

Illustration for article titled Anonymous benefactor who paid off $10,000 in school lunch debt swells our Grinch heartsem/em
Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill (Getty Images)

We’re all desperate for some happy news these days, so here’s a feel-good story: A school district in Maine was about to end the year with $17,000 in debt from unpaid school lunches. You already know that Westbrook is a good school district because according to CBS News, “School officials say they would rather face debt than have a child go hungry.” Then superintendent Peter Lancia “said he received a $10,000 check from an anonymous donor on Monday, which would erase a big chunk of the $17,000 owed by families in the district for student lunches.”


The $10,000 could wipe out all of the debt from the elementary school lunch program; most of the rest comes from the high school. For some of the kids, the school lunch is their only stable meal of the day. While some schools call out students for their lunch debt, this one is committed to keeping the kids fed, which likely helped inspire such a generous donation.

Lancia told the Portland Press Herald, “I’m not speechless often, and it was one of those moments.” Thanks for restoring our faith in humanity, anonymous donor.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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I qualified for reduced-fee lunches during my teenage years, though I was fortunate that my family never truly experienced food insecurity; my parents could write a whole Lifehacker on their own.

But not all of my classmates were as lucky, and paying 65 cents for a reduced-fee lunch was amazing and gave invaluable cushion to students whose families had financially small margins of error.

Rather than giving money to my college alma mater who has more money than it knows with what to do, contributions to school lunches, after-school programs, and classroom supplies might be the way to go for me one day.