Family's generosity inspires free lunch program for needy students in

February 18, 2019 - 6:38 am

While Shawnee Mission Schools struggle to collect on thousands of dollars in past-due lunch accounts, one family stepped up so children in their school would not have to go without.

Shawnee Mission serves lunches to all students who want them, and then try to collect later.

The Easton School District in Leavenworth County is much smaller than the SMSD, which has more than 27,000 students. Easton has about 620. 

Ellen Harper took action after her son saw a fellow student at Pleasant Ridge High School miss lunch on multiple occasions.

"He went and sat with him and talked him," Harper said. "They could discuss things and they got to know each other."

Harper's son wanted to do something, so she decided to pay for the other boy's lunches. 

"We as parents have gone through hard times, and when these boys know what it's like to have been through the hard times, they step up and see others they want to help," Harper said.

The Harper family's gesture did not end with one needy student. The district set up a fund that allows anyone to contribute to help cover lunch fees. Twelve students are currently receiving lunches, paid for by their kind-hearted neighbors.

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