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Generous Gift Wipes Student Lunch Debts Clean

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Sonora, CA – A local school community touched by an anonymous gesture of kindness is sharing its gratitude.

Sonora Elementary Principal Chris Boyles confides to Clarke Broadcasting that in a call that came to him just before winter break, a man heard about instances when somebody paid off the lunch bill for the students of their school. “He wanted to do it for Sonora El,” Boyles recalls, adding that when he researched the ledger, he found that the lunch debt was about $2,500.

‘I told him, I’m going to give you a number, but don’t feel obligated, and that we will take any act of kindness,” Boyles recalls. “He said, ‘give me a number’ and I gave him the number and he said ‘great, I can do that’.”

Boyles says that while in recent years there have been a couple of donors who gave a few hundred dollars towards lunch accounts, which school administrators applied to accounts where there was the most need, this was the first time he can recall that the donation netted a zero balance.

The principal notes the total dollars owed within delinquent accounts is typical for a semester. “We’re a big school…over 700 kids,” he maintains. “We are not going to turn away a child for lunch.”

About 43 to 45 percent of the study body is signed up for free or reduced lunches, according to Boyles, and the rest pay a regular price and parents generally pay in advance to have a credit balance in place. While some go into arrears because the parent simply loses track, others might lag because a family might be in need but for some reason does not apply to qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Boyles says the generous person insisted on remaining anonymous. “He did share with me that at some point of his life he immigrated to the United States and when he did he did not have a lot and said he knows what it feels like to have that need – and now says he is in a much better place financially and wanted to give back.”

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