Good Neighbors

Police Department Pays Off Student Lunch Debt

Their incredible act of kindness has inspired others to do the same.

The Rockland NY County Police Department is getting a good start to the season of giving. They recently paid off more than $1,500 in student lunch debt owed to RP Connor Elementary School in Suffern.

The funds that covered the lunch meal balance for hundreds of students came from the department's D.A.R.E. program, an education initiative that aims to prevent kids from doing drugs and engaging in violent behavior.

(Source: Suffern Police Department Facebook )

Suffern's Chief of Police, Clark Osborn, came up with the idea to pay the lunch debt, which is no surprise considering that Osborn served as the school's D.A.R.E. officer for 10 years and was a school board member for 13 years. Osborn even attended the school himself as a child.

"I feel like we are getting the biggest blessing," Osborn (pictured below) told ABC7 -TV. "And even doing something for us like this is great just to show people that there are so many things you can do outside the box. This is not a normal thing to do, we know."


Student lunch debt is not uncommon in schools across the nation. While the cost of a $2-3 meal doesn't seem like much, to struggling families it can be a burden. That's why efforts like the one made by the Rockland County PD are so crucial to helping districts get back on track with food costs and making sure that kids are getting the nutrition they need at school.

"It's huge," parent Jen Haas said about the generous donation to RP Conner.

"I mean parents, we're all struggling every now and then financially. And to not have to worry about whether their child is going to eat lunch is a huge deal." - Jen Haas

Luckily, it seems that Osborn's initiative is catching on. After hearing about their donation, several others have reached out to find out how they can take care of the outstanding balances in their own districts.

RP Connor's principal, Kelly Benadi, sees this as a big step in the right direction in working together to solve a common problem.

"That's the message - be kind, be nice, help other people," she said. "We are a community. We all have to help each other."

Inspired by the Rockland County PD's act of kindness? You may not be able to pay off an entire school's lunch debt, but you can help pay off overdue school lunch balances in a district near you. You can start a crowdfunding campaign (like this one), or donate to organizations that are already in place (like this one). Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

(Source: images ABC7-NY )

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