More balances paid off by Lunch Angels

Feb. 20, 2014 @ 12:33 PM

The Lunch Angels strike again, this time paying the past due balances for seven of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools 11 elementary schools.

On their latest stop small-business owner Walt Winfrey of Craige Motor Co., Kyle Newman of Craige Motor Co. and Erik Neill of Neill’s Tawkwondo & Fitness visited Carrboro Elementary to pay off past due lunch accounts for students at the school.
But the plans changed when the group realized that they could help more students with the same amount of money.
Instead of paying off the total balance at just Carrboro Elementary, they decided to pay the balances of students who receive free and reduced lunch at seven of the district’s 11 elementary schools.
Writing a check for $406.30, the donation covered the past due balances of students who receive free and reduced lunch at Carrboro Elementary, Glenwood Elementary, Estes Hills, Ephesus Elementary, Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe School, Rashkis Elementary and Seawell Elementary.
“It is heartwarming to know we have caring neighbors who are willing to pitch in,” said Liz Cartano, director of child nutrition for CHCCS. “We greatly appreciate this generous offer to help our free and reduced lunch students.”
They plan to return in coming weeks to CHCCS pay off more past due balances as well as return to Durham and help its public school students.
Dubbed the Lunch Angels, Newman and Neill paid the $830 total in past due balances at Durham’s Pearsontown Elementary earlier this month.
The first two schools that Newman and Neill visited, Pearsontown and Carrboro Elementary, are schools that they both attended as children.
After a Utah school made national headlines for tossing out the lunches of students who had past due lunch accounts, Kenny Thompson, a volunteer at Valley Oaks Elementary in Houston, Texas, decided to help the school where he donates his time by paying off their delinquent accounts.
Following in Thompson’s footsteps, Neill and Newman talked about the lunch angel during one of their Friday lunch meetings and agreed that they could do the same for schools in the Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.
Gathered in the front office of Carrboro Elementary awaiting the opportunity to wipe away lunch balances, the trio said that their efforts have been gaining momentum.
Eddie Williams of Time-Out restaurant in Chapel Hill, Dr. Debra Bell of Whole Family Chiropractic in Cary, former UNC Wilmington Chancellor James Leutze and Hillsborough attorney Sam Coleman have all committed to helping area school children, including helping to pay off past due lunch balances.
“We’re looking to help with what we can do but to get a lot of support from those wanting to help,” Neill said. “We’ll do what we can.”
“We want to get everyone together and see what else we can do, have a meeting of the minds,” Newman said.
Carrboro Elementary Principal Jillian La Serna said that “we’ve never had someone come in to do that.”
Assistant Principal Jonathan Woody greeted the donors with, “Wow! What a blessing.”
Fighting back tears, exceptional children assistant Lee Newbold said that their help will ultimately help the students who choose not to eat because they owe balances.