Austin, Minn., searches for ‘guardian lunch angels’

The head of food services in Austin, Minn., has a pretty good idea: asking residents to, basically, adopt a school lunch.

Mary Weikum has created the Lunch Tray Project to help families who make too much money to qualify for free and/or reduced lunches at school. That’s any family that grosses more than $2,500 a month, according to the Austin Daily Herald.

So she wants every kid — she figures there’s about 40 — to have a “guardian lunch angel.”

A little known fact, she said, is how many Austin residents regularly contact the school to offer to pay for negative balances in the food program.

“We might have someone call one day and ask what our negative balance is,” she said. “And that’s all it takes – they write a check.”

She is hoping that donors – or perhaps organizations – will offer to help pay for a child’s annual lunch cost this year.

“At $450 a year, we believe that people will step up; Austin is a very giving community.”

“These are the kids who are lost in the shuffle, they’re the children whose families are working hard but just don’t make enough” to be able to pay for a hot lunch.