LMEA Raises Funds to Help Erase School Lunch Debt
The Linn-Mar Education Association, representing Linn-Mar educational professionals, privately raised donations to help pay the district’s outstanding student meal accounts for the year. Educators heard about the deficit at a school board meeting and began planning a way to help families pay down their balances.
“I heard about the deficit and talked with our Linn-Mar Education Association (LMEA) executive board about assisting our students in need by raising funds to help pay their school meal debt,” said LMEA President Erin Watts. “Our executive board jumped at the idea to help. Our members see how some families struggle in the community and sometimes school meals are the only meals a student gets in their day,” added Watts. “Our students’ health and well-being is our number one priority.”
The LMEA sold t-shirts to raise money to cover the student lunch accounts in debt. They held a contest among LMEA members for the best slogan and received over 50 ideas in one week. The winner received $50 and a free t-shirt. The winning design was submitted by LMEA Member Erin Vaughn Murphy, a teacher at Oak Ridge Middle School, who immediately donated her winnings back to the cause. Her slogan of Lead, Motivate, Educate, Advocate was printed on a red t-shirt designed by RayGun of Des Moines.
The LMEA finished their t-shirt sales on May 20, selling 90 shirts. The total raised from the t-shirt sales and various donations was $2000 for students in need.
“I am so proud of my colleagues for stepping up and filling this need,” said Watts. “We know how much it hurts to try to learn on an empty stomach, or to feel out of place because you can’t afford to purchase a school meal. These are issues for far too many students in our community and in places across the state. We know because we see it every day in our classrooms and we do what we can to make a difference. It’s who we are,” added Watts.