An anonymous donor has wiped out the lunch debt for every student in one Orange County school district this week.
The $7,814 donation will pay off the negative balances for all students in the Ocean View School District, officials announced Wednesday. The district’s schools include elementary and middle school campuses in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Westminster.
“While OVSD works diligently with families to reconcile negative balances and children are always provided a meal regardless of their balance, this generous donation will impact more than 200 families that were struggling” to pay off the debt, according to a statement from the district.
Officials described the donor only as a man who has lived in the community for the 20 years.
In making the donation, the man noted how critical the childhood years and school are in setting students up for success later in life.
He said he hoped to alleviate some of the stress for families undergoing financial hardship “so that children have one less thing getting the way of learning,” the statement read.
The donor said he also got inspiration from reading about a man in Florida who made a similar gift to wipe out lunch debt to help children in his community.
But the random act of kindness was ultimately motivated by the profound gratitude he felt for his own education, and his desire to pay it forward, the district said. He expressed hope that the gesture would motivate others to give back.
“I want to encourage people to look around the community and ask, ‘What can I do to make it better?’” he said, according to the statement.
Superintendent Carol Hanson called the donation inspiring.
“We are so grateful for this unexpected gift,” she said.