Woman Donates Tax Refund To Pay For School Lunches - WBAY

Woman Donates Tax Refund To Pay For School Lunches


A news story out of Utah inspired a Texas man to pay outstanding lunch balances at a local school.  Now his story has inspired a Wisconsin woman to do the same.

It happened this morning, at Algoma High School.  An unexpected phone call from a Madison woman wanting to donate her tax refund to the school lunch program.

"We were both kinda looking at each other like what's going on? But yes, we were quite shocked at it," says Wendy Vlies, the school Secretary.

"Just kind of floored that they're willing to just come forward and do that for our kids," says Principal Nick Cochart.

Not unlike other school districts, more than half of Algoma's student population receives a reduced cost meal and some student lunch accounts go unpaid.  The donor and her husband didn't want to be identified, they just wanted to help.

"So we decided to pay off all the balances that were still owed, and then help them have a fund for kids that maybe their parents didn't want to share that they were struggling and wouldn't even fill out the paperwork, so kind of have a slush fund for other kids," the donor tells us.

A total donation of one-thousand dollars, from a couple just in town for the weekend.

For the first time in his career, Principal Cochart got to write a letter to parents to say "your negative lunch balance was paid off".

"I can imagine if you're struggling to pay your bills and making sure your kids lunch account has money in it I mean that's a huge relief," says Principal Cochart getting a bit emotional, "for them to do that, it's incredibly humbling."

Students in school districts throughout the country struggle to pay for lunch. News stories out of Utah and Texas inspired this donor to give.

"This man stepped up and paid off all the balances and another friend of mine up in Eagle River did the same thing this week. It seems like it's something that is catching on and I hope it does catch on," she says.  That's the reason she agreed to be interviewed.

"I hope more people see this story see, recognize the story in Utah and just maybe find it in themselves to give also."

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