Businesses step up to help schools feed hungry children in Durham

A local businessman showed up at his old elementary school in Durham with more than $800 in cash Monday.
February 10, 2014 3:11:27 PM PST
A so-called lunch money angel has landed in Durham.

Every day thousands of Triangle-area students go to school without money for lunch. Some may get free or reduced lunches. For those who don't, two business owners are putting their money where it can make a difference.

What you may not know is that students get fed with or without lunch money.

"Regardless of if kids come in with lunch money or not, they get a lunch," said Jennifer Hauser, who works at Pearsontown Elementary School.  

If the students don't have money, their parents get a letter reminding them to pay up. Over time balances come due and sometimes schools are left in the red.

"It was about 110, 130 accounts -- $800 for just one school," said Kyle Newman, of Craige Motors.

That's what convinced Newman to team up with another small business. Monday, he showed up at his old elementary school in Durham with more than $800 in cash.

"This week, instead of sending those letters, they will get a letter attached to it that says courtesy of these two gentlemen and their company, your balance is paid off," said Hauser.

The accounts are paid in full because Newman and another business owner paid it forward. They are hoping others will do the same.

"Companies in the area that are far larger than we are would be able to step in and take care of the middle schools, the high schools," said Newman.

Food in the mouths of students who don't have lunch money is a lesson for all.

"Giving back to your community in the smallest way and biggest way that you can," said Hauser.

"It doesn't take any food off of our table to help these kids," said Newman. "So if we all pitch in, we can take care of everyone."

The business owners say they won't stop with Pearsontown Elementary. They have a list of ten local schools they plan to visit with cash in hand.

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