Angel Lifeline Shares Need To Feed Lincoln Students
LINCOLN — A nonprofit organization that helps feeds children who have delinquent lunchroom accounts in area schools is hoping the Lincoln community will lend support to the program.
Ken and Denise Gheen of Prairie Grove started Angel Lifeline in 2012. All donations made to the 501(c)3 organization are used for school lunches. The Gheens work out of a home office and absorb administrative expenses for the program.
The couple recently spoke to Lincoln Area Kiwanis Club and shared the need for more money from the Lincoln area to benefit Lincoln students.
Following the meeting, the Kiwanis Club’s board of directors immediately voted to give $300 to Angel Lifeline. Another Kiwanis member made out a personal check to the organization and handed it over to the Gheens as they spoke.
Angel Lifeline serves six rural districts in Washington County but Lincoln has a bigger need than the other rural schools which means it needs more money each month, said Ken Gheen.
The only donations usually received for the Lincoln schools come from Arvest Foundation and this money also has to help students in the other Arvest communities, Gheen said. Arvest has banks in Farmington, Prairie
“We have to distribute fairly,” Gheen said.
Donations for Lincoln students can be made in several ways. Money can be dropped off at the schools and designated for the Lifeline account or mailed to Angel Lifeline Inc., 208 Jenkins Road, Prairie Grove, AR 72753.
“The deal is to feed kids,” Gheen said.
Denise Gheen said the program benefits students by giving them a hot meal for the day and also by protecting their dignity. Most schools have an alternative lunch for those Lincoln and West it students whose delinquent accounts have a $15 balance.
The way the program works, they said, is that the cashier is the person who decides whether to use Lifeline funds for a child’s lunch that day.
“If the account is delinquent and the child needs to eat, feed them,” Ken Gheen said.
Mary Ann Spears, superintendent of Lincoln Consolidated School District and a Kiwanis member, said the district has had to write off as much as $10,000-$12,000 in delinquent school lunchroom accounts some years. In such cases, the district’s general fund pays off the lunchroom debts.
“We’re the biggest (need) because we have the highest poverty rate,” Spears said.
More than 70 percent of Lincoln students qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program.
Valerie Dawson, Lincoln’s food service director, said the district used money from the Angel Lifeline program to pay for 883 meals in March. The Angel Lifeline account was used for meals at all three schools, she said.
Lifeline benefits Lincoln students because the lunchroom does not have to give them an alternative meal.
“Then it’s not embarrassing to the kid,” Dawson said.
Lincoln’s alternative meal is a cheese sandwich, piece of fruit and white milk.
The photo above shows a 150-foot monopole cell tower installed by Smith Communications in Fort Smith. Smith Communications has expressed interest in installing a new cell tower in Farmington. The City Council is considering a new cell tower ordinance.