Skip to main content

South Jordan Journal

Donor pays students’ outstanding lunch balance with work bonus

Jul 08, 2020 03:09PM ● By Julie Slama

An anonymous donor, who got a bonus at work, paid for every one of the 1,200 students’ outstanding lunch balances. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Shortly before Elk Ridge Middle went on soft closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an anonymous donor paid for every one of the 1,200 students’ outstanding lunch balances.

“He came in and told Angie (Whitney, head administration assistant) that he wanted to do that,” Principal Curtis Jenson said. “He didn’t know how much it would be.”

The total came to about $350, less than the $1,000 he expected to pay, Curtis said.

Assistant Principal Spencer Campbell said that is because the school provides regular alerts to families about negative balances.

Whitney said he has a connection with the school.

“He said he got a bonus and just wanted to help out,” she said.

Donations aren’t uncommon to Elk Ridge Middle administration, saying they may receive a couple per year.

“We recently had a donation from another person connected to the school,” Jenson said. “That donation was made specifically for technology, which has been helpful this spring with online learning.”

Campbell added that other donations in the past have ranged from the theater department to aid in the musical production to helping provide crisis counseling assistance for students.

Donations are coordinated with the Jordan Education Foundation.

“Every once in a while, we have people who do something like that, pay for lunches, and it’s fantastic,” Foundation Director Steven Hall said. “It helps pay for kids’ balances on lunches that the families may not be able to pay.”

Hall also said that through generous donors, grab-and-go meals during the nine days surrounding spring break this year were paid—and not just to the cost of $6,500 but an additional $1,500 to help with further meals for students.

“Within 24 hours or close to it, we had people donating $20, $50, $100 and even a couple $1,000 so we could put food into the hands of families who needed it,” he said. “They were so grateful, especially during this time of COVID-19. We put it out there on social media and our citizens and good people around just responded to the need.”

Hall said at another time, “a random guy with no kids in the district” donated $2,500 to the Jordan Education Foundation earmarked to help stock principals’ pantries.

“He said, ‘Use this to help feed the hungry kids,’” Hall said. “It’s great how people are responding and making a difference. I think with now, we’ll see a greater need and donating to the foundation is an easy way to help, and it goes straight to the children.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hall said Jordan District officials were helping feed one out of every four kids, which he said is about the national average. He expects that number to rise, so the need for help feed those children is more.

Hall said individuals, businesses and community, service, church and civic groups and organizations can volunteer and contribute by going to the Foundation website,, and click on “get involved.”