Student lunch debt is a problem for school children throughout the country that doesn’t receive enough attention. That’s part of the reason why a longtime employee of the Leechburg Area School District in Pennsylvania wanted money from her life insurance policy to be used to pay the overdue lunch fees of students.
Dolores “Dolly” Mamros spent 20 years working as a secretary in Leechburg, first at the elementary school and later at the high school. Her husband, Georgia, was a teacher and football coach in the district. Dolores passed away in November, less than two months after George.
Before she died, Dolores wished that part of her life insurance money would go to paying for the lunch of students whose families needed a little help. Now, roughly $6,000 is going to do just that.
Christopher Mamros, son of Dolores and George, sent the Leechburg school district a letter informing them of his mother’s wishes.
“We would like this money to be used to pay for a regular lunch for any child whose account is at a point where they would either be turned away from receiving a lunch, or who would be given a substitute lunch,” Chris wrote in the letter.
The idea for giving money to pay off lunch debt actually came from Ali Mamros, a high school freshman and Dolores and George’s granddaughter.
“A lot of my friends get talked about if they get a reduced or free lunch,” says Ali, “or if they don’t have enough money to pay for lunch.”
Nearly half of the 755 students in the Leechburg school district are eligible to receive a free or reduced-price lunch, meaning a lot of students stand to benefit from Dolores’ donation.
Leechburg Area Superintendent Tiffany Nix says the school always provides a lunch for every student unless told otherwise by a parent. She says that families who don’t quality for reduced price lunches but still struggle to pay for lunch will also receive some of the money.
Dolores’ family believes this is exactly what she would have wanted. “(My grandmother) cared about everyone,” said her grandson, Joshua.