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Anonymous Donor Gives $10,000 To Pay Down School Lunch Debts

An anonymous donor has paid off more than half of Westbrook’s student lunch debt.

Westbrook Superintendent Peter Lancia says that since the lunch debt got some attention in the press and on Facebook, he has received several donations from community members. But he says he was shocked to get a check Monday from an anonymous donor for $10,000.

“It really is a testament to how deeply the people of Westbrook care about the members of their community who may be struggling for a number of reasons. It’s just another demonstration of how deeply the people of our community care about their kids, in a very concrete way,” he says.

Right now families in the district owe about $17,000 for student lunches. Lancia says the district will figure out how to apply the money across that debt so it does families in need the most good.

“They really look at them individually, individual cases, they’re aware of unique circumstances that may be in play. And we want to respect all our families, but certainly take care of our families who are demonstrating the highest need,” he says.

Westbrook students in elementary and middle school still get lunches if their accounts are overdrawn. High school kids can only charge two meals beyond their balances. But Lancia says the district works with families to make sure kids don’t go hungry.