Hutto residents stepping in and paying unpaid school lunch balances

In the Hutto Middle School hot lunch line on Wednesday students got to choose from meatballs, pizza, hamburgers, salad...a better spread than most of us had in our day. 

Lunches are less than $3.  But it's a fact of life: some students can't pay for their meals.

"What happens is the child brings their lunch up to the counter and if they don't have money there's a chance that they might have to put it down and that can be very embarrassing.  And we try as hard as we can to prevent that so having the nice citizens pay this off to keep that from happening which just makes things better for everyone," said Nancy Holland Director of Child Nutrition for Hutto ISD. 

She's grateful that some Hutto residents have stepped in to pay for unpaid lunch balances -- Like local nurse and business owner Cynthia Turnipseed who came across the idea of helping schools with this on Facebook.

"I think that's just the nurse in me.  I'm very giving and usually it's rescue groups and when I read that on Facebook I just decided to take that and run with it," Turnipseed.

And business-owner Jamie Church who has actually worked in a school cafeteria before.

"Even working there I would often step up and buy the kids their lunch because I didn't want them to have peanut butter.  That's not what they wanted," Church said.

It's not peanut butter these days though.  Hutto ISD says when a student can't pay they'll get a ham sandwich, fruit and a drink. 

There have been recent reports from states like Alabama about schools 'shaming' kids who cant pay, making them wear a wristband or do manual labor.

Holland says in Hutto they keep it on the down low. "Horrible...I have to tell you that the people that work in our cafeterias I would say the majority of them do it because of how much they love it and how much they love the kids and they would never do fact they try to be very careful and very quiet when they have to tell someone that they have to put their lunch down," Holland said.

Church says her business paid a little over $300 to Hutto Middle School and Ray Elementary.

"They were very confused at first.  They were asking me 'what child, what student?' And I was saying 'all of them'" Church said. Turnipseed started a paypal account and a GoFundMe me and took donations.

On Wednesday she delivered about $400 to Holland to clear unpaid balances at 3 of Hutto's elementary schools. "It's because of people like Cynthia and Jamie who make our community a community. They see a need and they meet a need and we are so appreciative of those folks who kind of go that extra mile," said Todd Robison, Hutto ISD Communications Director.

Cynthia Turnipseed says she's working on clearing the rest of the district's balance as well. 

She's thinking of doing a charity car wash for the high school. 

If you would like to donate you can click here. 

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