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Generous donation to Hamilton Southeastern schools clears students’ lunch debt

lunches paid for
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 18:43:21-05

HAMILTON COUNTY— On Tuesday, close to 1,300 students in the Hamilton Southeastern School District had their lunch debts paid off.

A donation of $25,107.18 was made through the Food for Thought Community Fund, created by a local community member who is dedicated to supporting insecurity needs for students and families within HSE Schools.

The Food for Thought Community Fund was established in 2021 and is managed by the Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation (HSEF).

"Excited to do it, happy to do it and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without community support," said Justin Hirnisey, with HSEF.

The district says they're seeing a growing need in the district. About 20% of students qualify for free and reduced lunches.

"We never turn away anyone getting lunch if you’re in the negative. We always provide a full meal to students," said Karen Ogden, Director of Food Services.

Ogden says this donation lifts a burden for many families.

"Some parents — if they’ve applied and only been approved for reduced, they really still can’t afford that," said Ogden.

The fund also supports Fishers Youth Assistance Program’s Snack Attack and Summer Meals for HSE students.

If you are interested in donating to the Food for Thought Community Fund or to learn more about this initiative, click here.