TRENTON — An anonymous donor has covered most of the school lunch debts at the Trenton Elementary School with a recent $1,546 donation.
Those debts accumulated prior to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to an increase in state and federal funding that provides free meals to all students, regardless of income.
Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) Superintendent Marc Gousse announced the donation to the Trenton School Committee at its Oct. 12 meeting.
The outstanding balance not covered by the donation was $19.20, which prompted committee members to reach into their pockets to settle the remainder.
Gousse told the Islander that in the past, School Committee members throughout the district have donated their stipends to help cover student debt incurred from unpaid lunches.
“[They are] some pretty amazing people,” Gousse said.
“Retiring the debt … that’s wonderful,” he said, adding that families can focus on affording other necessities, such as heat and clothing.
He said that the recent funding provided by the state and federal government for school lunches has helped remove stigmas for families who have struggled to afford school meals in the past.
“COVID aside, food insecurity’s a huge issue,” Gousse said. “This has been incredibly helpful.”
Trenton Principal Crystal DaGraca noted that many community members often make donations to help cover outstanding lunch balances, school supplies and other needs.
“Trenton is an amazing community with so many generous people,” DaGraca said. “Whether the donations are large or small, they make a huge difference for our students.”