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Anonymous Donor Shares Christmas Spirit by Paying All Unpaid Student Lunch Accounts

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PONCA CITY – The Ponca City Public School District received a very generous anonymous donation this month. Liz Glaser, PCPS Assistant Director of Child Nutrition, explained, “A lady called me wanting to know the total amount of lunch debt in our district. We quickly ran a report to get a total thinking never in a million years would someone really pay off every unpaid account we had. But, within the hour we had a visitor bearing a check for $8,600.00. After drying our tears, we quickly organized ourselves to begin the process of applying the funds to every student’s account that owed money.”

“Some schools needed less help than others,” continued Glaser. “Lincoln has a church and others in the community that take very good care of the students there. Union has had two churches give them sizable donations this year, and the Senior High School received a check recently from a group that promises to do more after the first of the year.”

Ponca City Public Schools is required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish and adopt an unpaid meal policy. This policy establishes a process and procedure to handle situations when children eligible for reduced-priced or full-price meal benefits have insufficient funds to pay for school meals, as well as for the collection of unpaid meal charges and delinquent account debt. This USDA policy was mandated in July 2016.

 

Glaser explained, “We have to follow USDA policies and procedures, and after an exhausting process, we have to cut students off. We only do that after a family has been given plenty of notice to send a lunch with the child. The policy says $30.00; however, by the time we get to the final notice (which still gives them another week), it is well beyond thirty dollars. Families can make arrangements with us; all they have to do is talk to us. These people who step up for our kids are very dear to us because they save us from having to do what breaks our hearts. We only want to feed and nurture kids.”

 

PCPS Superintendent Shelley Arrott shared, “This donation was a beautiful and selfless act that touched each of our hearts. We appreciate the kindness and compassion our community provides to our students. Typically, our students whose accounts become delinquent are full-pay families. Temporary life events happen, and the full-pay costs become a burden on many families – particularly on those with more than one child. If our students do not bring a lunch when accounts become severely delinquent, we find a way to feed them even if we pay for them personally. The generous donations from our community are a blessing to so many students and families, and PCPS appreciates the thoughtfulness of this kind act. It is truly a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful community.”