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Anonymous donors in Cody eliminate school lunch debt for district

House Bill 206 allocated an additional $30.5 million to counties in the form of block grants so schools could hire new personnel, train existing staff, invest in programs and contract for outside services.<br />
House Bill 206 allocated an additional $30.5 million to counties in the form of block grants so schools could hire new personnel, train existing staff, invest in programs and contract for outside services.<br />(WSAZ)
Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 11:21 PM CST
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Three benefactors paid off over $1300 to lighten a financial burden for dozens of families in Cody last month - the school lunch debt for the entire school district was paid in full by the three Good Samaritans, who were each acting independently.

According to Park County School District Six nutrition director, Gen Sheets, it started off with one twenty-five dollar donation in December, followed within a week by a second benefactor. She said that person wanted to pay off a majority of the student debt, and then a third came forward to pay off what was left.

Sheets, who has been the director of nutrition here for the past five years, said lunches cost between $2.75 and $3.25 each depending on age and grade, and for some families, it doesn’t take long to fall behind. Although there is assistance available for hungry kids, Sheets said it’s often difficult to identify which students are struggling.

“Our school district is about 30 percent free and reduced," she pointed out. "Eastside Elementary is our highest, it’s like 50-51 percent. But those are the identified kids, and we don’t always do great at identifying them.”

Sheets noted that donations come from the community throughout the year to supplement school lunch funds, but what was unique about the December gifts was that the donors had no ties to the school district - they simply did a good deed.

“None of these people had students in the system at all," said Sheets. "They’re not tied to it at all, no grandchildren, children, anything, just people wanting to build a strong community and see that it starts with our kids."

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