Anonymous donor to pay off Gibson County students’ lunch debt

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — After Pictsweet stepped up and paid off student lunch debts at Crockett County High School in December, it inspired an anonymous donor in Gibson County to do the same.

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“This is a wonderful community member that has a deep connection to Milan and was really just inspired. They didn’t want to just help the Milan community, but wanted to help students all over Gibson County,” Milan Special School District Director of Schools Jonathan Criswell said.

It all started with a phone call to Criswell after Christmas.

“They called and asked if they had the ability to pay off lunch debt for students in Gibson County in all of our school districts,” Criswell said.

Criswell reached out to the superintendents in Trenton, Bradford and Gibson County Special School Districts to find out their current lunch debts.

Humboldt City Schools is not included because all students in that district receive free lunches through a federal program.

“When we all told him, I thought the number would get too big for anyone,” said Trenton Special School District Superintendent Tim Haney. “When I found out they were going to go ahead and do it, it was a very humbling experience. We are very grateful.”

While the superintendents did not want to disclose the amount of lunch debt in their individual districts, Criswell says the combined total for all the districts was just over $14,300.

The donation will be divided up by district according to amount needed. Then school officials will tell students about their forgiven debt.

The superintendents say they’re excited for this kind contribution, and think it will teach everyone a lesson.

“Life happens with our parents and kids, so whenever that does occur, we never know what’s happening in their lives. This is going to give them a chance to get back on their feet,” said Gibson County Special School District Superintendent Eddie Pruett.

“That’ll be a great example for all of us, and our students also if they see people willing to help others when they need it,” said Bradford Special School District Superintendent Dan Black. “I think it’s an outstanding quality for all of us to have.”

Criswell says the check hasn’t cleared with the district yet, but they received confirmation of the check from Charles Schwab yesterday.

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