Anonymous donor pays off PCPS student lunch accounts

December 27, 2019 | Featured|Headlines

Submitted By MARY LADD | PCPS Public Information

PONCA CITY — The Ponca City Public School District received an anonymous donation of $8,600 this month that was geared toward school lunch debt.

Liz Glaser, PCPS Assistant Director of Child Nutrition, said, “A lady called me wanting to know the total amount of lunch debt in our district. We quickly ran a report to get a total thinking never in a million years would someone really pay off every unpaid account we had. But, within the hour we had a visitor bearing a check for $8,600. After drying our tears, we quickly organized ourselves to begin the process of applying the funds to every student’s account that owed money.”

Glaser said some schools needed less help. “Lincoln Elementary has a church and others in the community that take very good care of the students there. Union has had two churches give them sizable donations this year, and the high school received a check from a group that promises to do more after the first of the year,” said Glaser.

PCPS is required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish and adopt an unpaid meal policy. This policy establishes a process and procedure to handle situations when children eligible for reduced-priced or full-price meal benefits have insufficient funds to pay for school meals, as well as for the collection of unpaid meal charges and delinquent account debt. This USDA policy was mandated in July 2016.

Glaser said, “We have to follow USDA policies and procedures, and after an exhausting process, we have to cut students off. We only do that after a family has been given plenty of notice to send a lunch with the child. The policy says $30. However, by the time we get to the final notice (which still gives them another week), it is well beyond $30. Families can make arrangements with us. These people who step up for our kids are very dear to us because they save us from having to do what breaks our hearts. We only want to feed and nurture kids.”

PCPS Superintendent Shelley Arrott called the donation a beautiful and selfless act.

“This touched each of our hearts,” she said. “We appreciate the kindness and compassion our community provides to our students. Typically, our students whose accounts become delinquent are full-pay families. Temporary life events happen, and the full-pay costs become a burden on many families – particularly on those with more than one child. If our students do not bring a lunch when accounts become severely delinquent, we find a way to feed them even if we pay for them personally. The generous donations from our community are a blessing to so many students and families, and PCPS appreciates the thoughtfulness of this kind act. It is truly a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful community.”