Optimist Club erases lunch debt for children at Jefferson County school

JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO - “Hungry kids don’t learn well,” mother and teacher Amy Endicott said.

As a parent of three and an assistant teacher to dozens more, Amy Endicott says she knows all too well about students in class performance after eating a hearty meal.

“Anything that we can do to allow the kids to eat a full meal during the day will help not only them but it helps us as educators,” she said.

Even though a healthy lunch could make for a dynamic day, many students find themselves without a bite to eat as their account sits in the negative.

According to the School Nutrition Association latest study, nearly three-quarters of school districts had unpaid student meal debt at the end of the 2015-2016 school year, a 71 percent increase.

Thankfully, in Fox C-6 School district, the Arnold-Imperial Optimist Club heard those stats and wanted to make a change.

“Meramec Elementary School we were able to give them a $500 check that basically paid off the entire balance of their overdue lunches,” club member Kurt Warner said.

Now dozens of students can eat with their friends and parents who may be struggling, will not have to dip into their pockets.

“Mine run over $200 a month for three kids so I can understand the stress that it would cause on a family,” Warner said.

“For parents who genuinely cannot afford to feed their kids, but for some reason doesn’t qualify for free and reduced lunch, it takes this huge burden off of them,” Endicott said.

It’s that strong burden those students won’t have to worry about either.

“It helps these kids because they don’t have to stress out with knowing they don’t have any money on their account and they don’t know where they are going to eat,” Endicott said.

The group is pledging to pay off the debt in a new school each month from here on out.

Click here to help out the group and their efforts.

 

 

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