Hutto mom, daughter raise money to pay off district’s elementary school lunch debt

Miranda Bennett and her mom Tammy saw a need at Hutto ISD and they met it.

“Today we are paying off $2,375.38 for all the elementary schools in Hutto,” said Tammy Miranda, Bennett's mom. 

It only took five days to raise the money. They have been doing this for years across several school districts.

“No child in first grade should have food taken off their tray because they have a negative balance. They don't understand. They have no concept of money, they have no concept of their lunch account. All they know is it's breakfast time, they're hungry and they want to eat,” said Miranda.

Many districts provide alternative lunches once a child's account is in the negative, but Miranda feels the choices aren't that great.

“Let them pick what they want for lunch. I know there is one school district that does one piece of cheese between two pieces of bread, not even grilled cheese or anything. I wouldn't like that either,” said Miranda.

Hutto ISD does provide free breakfast and often lets their students go into arrears for a bit of time before providing an alternative lunch, but the best option they say is keeping balances paid by staying in touch with parents.

“We encourage all families who qualify for free or reduced lunch to fill out that application, get it in. If we see a student who falls into a negative balance we absolutely will never let a kid go hungry,” said Todd Robison, director of communications at Hutto ISD.

Bennett and Miranda plan on continuing to rally up Central Texas communities to raise money for their local districts, because access to food can affect a child's performance in the classroom.

“As soon as we pay off these schools, the thing is that debt is just going to start over again, so I would like to do it more than once a year,” said Bennett.

The pair wants to pay off the middle school debt next. If you wish to donate to the cause, click here.