One anonymous local man and his buddies have donated hundreds of dollars to pay off the lunch balances of needy families in O’Fallon School District 90, which superintendent Carrie Hruby said was a decision made over a cup of coffee.
“This anonymous neighbor of ours has helped lift a burden for families in need who don’t qualify for waivers but may be struggling to pay the lunch fees they owe for one reason or another,” Hruby said.
Hruby, who oversees the district’s Facebook page, shared the touching story on social media on Wednesday.
“O’Fallon is home to so many caring people who choose to pay it forward and do good for others without asking for anything in return,” O’Fallon District 90 stated in a Facebook post, which had more than 1,000 likes and 251 shares as of Friday.
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The idea started after a local man heard about a similar deed in another state, according to the district’s Facebook post.
The district’s response to one of the comments was, “...pretty neat how the actions of one person can inspire others to do special things and pay it forward! The ripple effect of kindness cannot be measured.”
Hruby said she told the gentleman his actions were making life easier for these families and touching the hearts of many community members.
“When the school contacted (one) mother to let her know about this random act of kindness, she cried tears of gratitude,” Hruby said.
The district’s business office worked with the staff at Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School to identify a handful of families that needed help with unpaid fees, she said.
“The kind gentleman and his friends are paying off debt for a few families every month. He doesn’t know their names, and they don’t know his. But what we all know is that this is what makes O’Fallon incredible,” Hruby said.
John Wagnon, president of District 90’s school board, said he was “very touched” when he heard about “this act of kindness and generosity.”
“I’m very thankful for this man and his friends and their spirit of giving. May God bless them all. Our actions create a ripple effect — good or bad — and I’m glad to see that this story is having such a positive impact on so many here in O’Fallon,” Wagnon said.
One Facebook commenter asked the district how much it would cost to sponsor a child’s lunch account for a year, and the answer is just under $400 a year.
Wagnon’s advice to the district staff, students, families and community members is: “let’s all rally together to create more positive stories like this.”