Community steps up to pay off lunch debts at Hanover school

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Lunchtime at Washington Henry Elementary School is one of student Jack McCaleb’s favorite times of day. He’s a big fan of the French toast. He also likes the lunch ladies.

"They make good lunches," Jack said. "They're pretty. They're nice.  And, that's pretty much all."

Jack McCaleb

Cafeteria Supervisor Renee Jewell loves to see kids like Jack so happy.

"Food is the most important thing they can get," Ms. Jewell said. “There are some kids that this is the only really good meal that they get, breakfast and lunch. To me, it's really important that they have what they need: good quality food, hot fresh and everything they can get."

Renee Jewell/Cafeteria Supervisor

What she doesn't love, is hearing about families who can't afford to buy their kids a good meal.

"I think pretty much one family is too much," she said.

Some families were behind in paying for their kids’ breakfast and lunch.  In all, they were $250 in the hole.

Washington Henry Elementary School Principal Lisa Thompson said that’s when the community came to help.

“This year we adopted a theme called 'Be the One' and it is about being the one who demonstrates kindness and compassion for others," Ms. Thompson said. “And we had a local community church do just that for families here."

Lisa Thompson/Principal

Members of Hope Community Church recently reached out to Ms. Thompson, asking how they could help during the holiday season.  When they heard about the $250 deficit, the church raised money to cover it -- and more.  In all, they raised $1,000.

"That not only took care of the costs that were in need, but we actually had money left over that we'll be able to use for future needs," Ms. Thompson said.

Jack will tell you that kindness is a lesson we can all learn.

"It means like being nice to others. Like if someone's hurt you should help them up," he said.

This helping hand is feeding kids and getting them ready to learn… and that’s Building Better Minds.

Watch Building Better Minds every Wednesday on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m.

Eat It, Virginia! with Scott and Robey is a podcast driven by food. We discuss Richmond restaurants and food events, answer your most pressing food-related questions, and share listener-submitted dining suggestions. Email the show here.

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