After learning about how a Stow-Munroe Falls community group was able to erase students’ school lunch account balances last month, some concerned Kent citizens believe that we can do it too.
Many families struggle to make ends meet in today’s economy. SNA’s 2018 School Nutrition Operations Report revealed 75% of districts nationwide had unpaid meal debt.
Many families do not participate in the free and reduced lunch program, either because they are unaware that they qualify or simply make too much money to qualify, even though they may need the assistance. While some individual balances are simply an oversight, many families struggle to pay the lunch debt, and it can carry on from year to year all the way to graduation.
Around the country, parents, alumni, and concerned citizens and organizations have come together to eliminate school lunch debt. We have organized Kent N.I.C.E. (Neighborhood Improvement and Community Engagement) to get it done here.
Our goal is to raise enough funds to pay off the Kent schools unpaid lunch account balances in full. Once we reach the goal, funds will be deposited into the Kent N.I.C.E. account in Portage Community Bank and a check will be written directly to Kent City Schools.
Help make it happen here! Donate now!
It’s easy to donate through our GoFundMe account. Or, tax deductible gifts can be made through Portage Family & Community Services by writing a check to F&CS with “KentNICE” written on the subject line.
What if we exceed our goal?
KentNICE will help families and citizens of Kent in other tangible ways. Possible ideas include assisting in the purchase of caps and gowns for high school graduation and paying off library fines or other fees that may impede the ability to graduate. We also hope to make it easier for families fill in free and reduced lunch applications by helping with the forms and even if necessary finding translators.
Since Kent NICE is now a program of F&CS, we have the ability to organize, support, and fundraise for future community projects, including and ongoing effort to eliminate school lunch debt in Kent.
Why is paying off school lunch debt good for school districts?
Many public school districts are forced to operate in a deficit, and unpaid lunch balances are a part of that. Districts can’t absorb the cost of meals without taking funds from other important programs. Your donation will not only support a family in need of help, but will support the school district to operate in the black!
What if I don’t live in the Kent School District?
Do you have family or close friends with students in the district? Are you alumni? Yes? Great! We are so grateful you are willing to help.
No? We encourage you to find out how you can help eliminate school lunch debt in your own district!
Once the balances are paid, how do we reduce future balances?
Great question! Each year, fill out the free and reduced lunch application for your kids and encourage others to do the same. Completed applications help the district identify need and meet budget expectationsKentNICE has already pledged to be a part of ensuring that every family who qualifies participates in the free and reduced program.