FEED: Group Pays Delinquent Student Accounts
Grove, Lincoln and West
“We have to distribute it 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 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.