Madison Metropolitan School District employees fundraise thousands for school lunch debt

Published: Dec. 19, 2018 at 9:32 PM CST
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For the past few years, the twenty-five employees in the Human Resources Department at the Madison Metropolitan School District have celebrated their “Festivus”.

“Festivus is just kind of a fun week,” says Ndaziona Ndafooka, an administrative assistant with the district. “We do a white elephant, Secret Santa, cookie exchange, things like that.”

This year, the department decided to do something to give back.

“We just blinked and the community said we’re going to do this,” says Ndafooka.

The employees wanted to do something that would have a direct impact on the students of the district.

With over 1,000 students in Madison who are homeless or displaced, the department looked at the nearly $25,000 of unpaid student lunch balances.

“Those students are constantly in a position to not be able to support themselves with a meal account,” said Tina Updike, MMSD HR Information Systems Supervisor.

It started out as a simple fundraiser with a goal of $500.

“Hey we’ll collect a few hundred dollars and see what we can do to close a few accounts,” Updike said.

Within hours after Ndafooka shared the fundraiser on her Facebook account, she had raised triple their goal.

As of Wednesday evening, the staffers have raised over $8,000 and awareness for a real problem their students face everyday.

has found 1 in 6 children in Southwestern Wisconsin face hunger.

“We don’t want any student to be going to school hungry,” Updike added. “That’s a basic need and we just want to have everybody at that baseline where they are feeling good.”

The employees are keeping the campaign through December 31st and trying to raise enough money to pay off the entire debt of $25,000.

“It’s amazing to see what people have done in less than 48 hours,” said Updike.

To donate to the fundraiser, head to the