Local citizen raising funds to pay off student lunch debt

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Editor

TOMAHAWK – A local citizen is raising funds to pay off student lunch debt at the School District of Tomahawk.

The individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, said they have had student lunch debt on their heart for years.

“I worked at a school in Milwaukee and saw firsthand how kids were shamed because of delinquent accounts,” they explained. “My heart ached for them. This was not their fault.”

The citizen said they want no recognition.

“I just want to help,” they stated.

The individual said they were inspired to launch the fundraising campaign after seeing a pastor in another area community take action to help get student lunch accounts back in the black.

School District of Tomahawk Administrator Wendell Quesinberry said just under 40% of the district’s student population qualifies for free or reduced-price meals, but there may additional eligible families that have not submitted the necessary paperwork.

“Given the significant rise in food costs over the past few years – a trend that appears likely to continue – we are fortunate to have a fund balance in our Food Service Account,” Quesinberry stated. “This balance has enabled us to avoid increasing school meal prices for nearly five years, ensuring that our students continue to have access to affordable meals.”

Despite these efforts, Quesinberry noted, many families still struggle to maintain a positive balance in their meal accounts. District-wide, more than $16,000.00 in overdue accounts has been accumulated.

Quesinberry said this issue is not unique to Tomahawk – many districts across the state are facing similar challenges with rising lunch account debts.

Locally, members of the community continue to step up and lend a hand by making donations.

Quesinberry said the individuals who contribute “recognize the need within our community and wish to help our families.”

In highlighting the endeavor currently underway in Tomahawk, Quesinberry said the district deeply appreciates the individual’s dedication in spearheading the efforts.

“(We) are confident that (their) initiative will make a significant difference for many of our families,” he stated.

How to contribute

Those interested in contributing to the efforts to pay off student lunch debt at the School District of Tomahawk can make contributions to an account that has been set up at Park City Credit Union.

As of last week, nearly $650.00 had been raised.

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