Co-Workers Connect to Cover Cost of Lunch

One donation turns to two, and two turns to more. A group of co-workers in Warrick County make Christmas a little lighter in the school cafeteria.

A gift close to the heart for a Tri-State woman is growing by the minute, thanks to the power of people putting food on the table.

It took a small donation from Kristina Arwood to blossom into an outreach across county lines.

“It's been overwhelming and really humbling,” she says.

Arwood says it all started as something on Facebook, but the truth is the idea was born well before Facebook was ever a thing; when Kristina was still in school at Cedar Hall Elementary.

She was on free or reduced lunches, and at times it brought her down. “I didn't want to feel embarrassed or carry that burden,” she says. That's why her donation to Cedar Hall for a few hundred dollars snowballed into something much bigger.

Allen Moseby, a co-worker of Kristina's at ERA Realty, says it's a bigger problem that most think. “You hear a story about a kid only getting a peanut butter sandwich or a sack lunch when everybody else next to them is getting a hot meal, it breaks your heart.”

Kristina was that kid.

“The times I couldn't afford lunch that day, maybe I just wouldn't eat.”

Families with kids on free or reduced lunch get a Christmas wish they never knew they had, as Kristina and her co-workers collect cash to cover the cost of lunch.

Arwood says there is a stigma on free or reduced lunch. “As a kid you've got so many other things to be embarrassed about, but that was something I was embarrassed about,” she says, “how poor we were.”

Kristina's friends at ERA have now taken the spirit of giving into Warrick County, paying off $400 in debt at Newburgh Elementary, and $365 in debt at Chandler Elementary.

Their GoFundMe page has surpassed $1,600.

Next on the to-do list of donations is McGary Middle School in Evansville, together with a long list of schools in Warrick County, including Loge, Oak Dale, Yankeetown, and more.

Liz Miller at ERA says it's surprising to see how many families are in need. “When parents default on that balance, it's the school that has to pick up the bill,” she says, “they had some families who had defaulted, not just this year but three years in a row.”

This is a twist on a traditional Christmas tale, supplies kids with meals doesn't always top the priority list, but Kristina is doing her part to make it one.

“They shouldn't have to worry about whether or not they can eat that day.”


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