Elkhart Community Schools receive anonymous donation to pay off lunch tab of 650 students

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Elkhart Community Schools received an anonymous donation that will pay off the lunch tab for 650 elementary students.

It's an important part the day for elementary students -- lunchtime.

In most cases, lunch is usually paid for in advance by parents, or youngsters may bring lunch money to school.

“We certainly strive to give our students the best education environments possible,” said Tony Gianesi, Elkhart schools. “This includes making sure that they are well-fed and ultimately have the food needed to give them the nourishment to keep their minds off their stomachs and their minds on schoolwork.”

But sometimes, for different reasons, lunch is not paid for.

The first time it happens the school system pays for the lunch, leaving the students with a negative balance on their lunch account.

School officials recently discovered the lunch accounts for 650 elementary students were recently paid for by anonymous donor who spent more than $1,700.

“What they did is give us over $1,700 to pay off negative balances for our students in the elementary schools,” said Pam Melcher, food service director.

The school system says it has limited resources to help fund the lunch program here.

It's difficult to move money around to help make up the deficit, and they say they definitely benefit from good neighbors and parents who can lend a hand.

“Every family goes through struggles, has different struggles in life, and it’s great to know that we have a community that will support each other when needed,” said Gianesi.

"You have families that are very busy and sometimes you forget to send money with your child that morning,” said Melcher.

The $1,700 gift paid off all unpaid lunches as of November 5.

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