- Associated Press - Friday, January 3, 2020

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - An anonymous donor gave about $2,000 to a Vermont school to pay off student lunch debt.

The check was written just before the new year, school officials with Union Elementary School in Montpelier told news outlets, and settled all 116 student lunch accounts with negative balances.

Students, who returned from winter break Thursday, are never turned away if they cannot pay for lunch so schools up accruing negative balances on lunch accounts, said Jim Birmingham, Montpelier-Roxbury School District food services director. A lunch at the school costs $3.25, and a breakfast costs $1.75.

The donation was unexpected, Principal Ryan Heraty said.

“For us, this was a real act of kindness that we can emulate and hopefully, in our own way, give back to the kids in the community,” he said.

About 20% of students in the Montpelier-Roxbury School District qualify for free or reduced lunches.

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