Garden Valley community donates $12,000 for kids needing lunch

Up to 25 children skipped lunch every day in the school district. They are now financially covered for the next two years.

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho — I have something to say about a community of just a few thousand people. Superintendent Randy Thompson, who spent his year and a half at Garden Valley School District (GVSD), is already feeling the attraction.

“Everyone seems to know each other. They look out for each other. You kind of have each other’s backs, don’t you?” Thompson said. “I love being here. When I’m in a small school or a small community, I don’t get lost in the crowds.”

GVSD consists of 300 children. They come from different backgrounds, families and financial situations.

“The thought of a child skipping meals because they don’t have money or funds breaks my heart. It really hit me to the core.

With the help of GVSD Food Director Debbie Updike, the district identified 25 children who skipped lunch every day. According to Thompson, they fall into the gray area. Families are not economically eligible for free or reduced lunches. But they also don’t have enough money to eat a full lunch.

“We can’t know exactly why a child didn’t have money because we don’t know the exact circumstances of a particular family. There could be many different reasons,” Thompson said. The fact is that this child is not eating and we want to make sure that this child gets food.”

Thompson wrote a letter to community members on December 8th explaining the issue. He also posted it online.

Within a month, 35 donors raised $12,000. This is enough money to provide free meals to 25 students every day for up to two years.

“The days are long here, four days a week, so if a student misses lunch, they go without food for a long time,” says Updike. “We are thrilled to be able to help them.”

School districts could not divert funds from other sources, Thompson said. We needed community support to cover the costs. And that support extended all the way to Boise, where residents of Ada County offered donations.

“This is getting attention even outside of our own community,” Thompson said. I will contact you again.”

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