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Couple donates money to cover student lunch balances in Meade County

Couple donates money to cover student lunch balances in Meade County

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PIEDMONT | Fifty-three students between Piedmont Valley Elementary and Stagebarn Middle schools will have a fresh start for lunch balances in the 2020-2021 school year.

Tim and Andrea Brady of Kumelos Design & Construction, Inc. in Piedmont donated $2,337.98, the total leftover balance for both schools, last week. A separate anonymous $2,500 donation was made in Sturgis this week.

“It really touches my heart, just their giving spirit and willingness to reach out and look for a way to help in a concrete way and give these families a fresh start,” said Rhonda Ramsdell, food service director for Meade 46-1 School District.

Ramsdell said Tim contacted her asking how he could help with the emergency meals the district started following school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tim said he asked because throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, his company and his employees have been able to continue to work, and his kids used to attend, or attended, both schools and wanted to be able to give back.

“I did it because one, I’m still blessed with ability to make a living and there are probably people unable to pay bills because they’re unemployed right now or their income has been cut severely,” he said.

He said there’s been so much negative news over the past few months that he also wanted to do something that was just positive.

Ramsdell said he asked if there were students with unpaid balances. She told him the exact amount and he presented a check with that number.

Last school year, the district ended with a balance of almost $7,000 in unpaid debt, she said. This year, following both donations from the Bradys and the anonymous one in Sturgis, the district has $2,600 left.

“That’s very good,” Ramsdell said.

She said she’s received a lot of feedback from families about the donation to cover students’ balances, and that it’s taken a load off the parents’ minds.

“They have lots to worry about...and just to have that done is encouraging for them,” she said.

Tim said he hopes his donation is able to get the ball rolling for other community business leaders to step up and perhaps follow suit.

According to the South Dakota Department of Education 2018-2019 school report cards, there are 471 students at Piedmont Valley, 94% of which are classified as economically disadvantaged, and 306 students at Stagebarn Middle, 91% of which are economically disadvantaged.

Those who wish to donate should contact Ramsdell by phone at 605-347-3601 or by email at rhonda.ramsdell@k12.sd.us 

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