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November 28, 2017 06:06 PM

Sioux Falls Superintendent Grateful For Lunch Money Donation

Sioux Falls, SD

A major donation by a local restaurant is already helping feed students in the Sioux Falls School District. KELOLAND News was there when the owner of The Barrel House presented a more than $92,000 check to the district.

Superintendent Brian Maher says he knew the donation was coming, but is still surprised at just how much money the restaurant raised. The owner and head chef organized the Hungry Hearts Foundation and held a big fundraiser with food and a silent auction. $10,000 of it will help provide winter clothing for students, and the other $82,000 will go into an angel fund.

The best Christmas gifts don't always come wrapped in a box you need to open.  

"To me, it was just above and beyond a very generous gift to kick off this holiday season," Maher said.

The money will pay for school lunches for students who can't afford to eat, but still don't qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.  If those students are unable to pay for their lunch, they typically get a USDA-approved smart snack, which is whole grain crackers, mozzarella cheese and milk instead.

"Hopefully, maybe this can get families through that rough patch while they get back on their feet," Maher said. 

Maher says he's grateful for the gift. The Barrel House announced its efforts a while ago, so the district has already been putting the donation to good use. 

"We didn't even have to give out a smart snack to students. No student this year has been turned away from a meal in anticipation of this generous gift from the Barrel House," Maher said. 

This won't impact students who do qualify for free and reduced lunch, because their lunches are already taken care of through that program. Maher says the district will know how much money it will use for unpaid lunch accounts at the end of the semester. 

The best Christmas gifts don't always come in a box, but they do come from people who open their hearts to help others. 

"It's issues like this that remind you just how supportive this community is of this community, but specifically of the school district. We're very appreciative of that," Maher said. 

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