MMSD employees reach fundraising goal for school lunch debt

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As part of their annual holiday celebration, the twenty-five employees in the Human Resources Department of the Madison Metropolitan School District decided to give back by raising money to cover students' unpaid school lunches.

On Friday, the employees reached their goal of $25,000, which covers the entire balance.

Ndaziona Ndafooka, one of the administrative assistants, says she's very excited.

"It's amazing," she added. "Madison did it! I'm just really happy and shocked and really proud."

The district has 1,569 students with negative free or reduced school lunch balances totaling $24,808.37.

Ndafooka says for a student to qualify for a free or reduced lunch they have to be at a certain income level.

"These balances are usually occurred before the person is eligible for free/reduced lunch," she explained. "Since they are not eligible for the program and receiving free and reduced lunch, we want to be able to reduce this debt and it not be something they have to pay off when they have other things to worry about."

Even when a child might qualify for a free lunch, they still carry an unpaid school lunches on their account from previous years.

"This really is about us supporting the families who have this debt looming over them," Ndafooka said. "What a great way to give them a holiday gift."

According to the Facebook fundraiser, more than 700 people have donated to the cause.

The department is overwhelmed by the generosity in the community.

"We're happy to support these families and I think this has ignited an idea of how we can do something long term to support the families who are a little more at risk," she added.

As for next year, the team hasn't decided what they'll fundraise for, but is going to pick a different cause to support.

"We're going to set our sights on something else because there's always someone or something that needs help and we can start brainstorming on what that's going to be."

To read NBC15's original story on this from earlier this week, clickhere.