KINGMAN – A large group of high school seniors from Kingman Unified School District’s class of 2017 got to walk this year thanks to a Kingman Regional Medical Center fundraiser.
KRMC’s Human Resources department took the initiative to help a group of graduates by gathering funds and donations from friends and family to cover a total of $4,212 in food debt for 85 seniors from the class of 2017.
KRMC’s HR organized the campaign as part of a quarterly team-building service project. HR Generalist Terrie Naylor had seen a news story about children with food debt, so she reached out to KUSD and found out students district-wide have amassed a total of nearly $80,000 in food debt. She also learned that seniors with outstanding debt are prohibited from walking in the graduation ceremony.
“I knew we wouldn’t reach $80,000,” Naylor said. “I asked about seniors who wouldn’t walk because of the lunch money.”
She and her cohorts got to work and raised the money to let the seniors walk.
Various KRMC departments contributed to the cause including accounting, administration, cardiothoracic, the catheter lab, environmental services, health information management, Little Minnows Learning Center, payroll and physiatry.
Since the projects change every quarter, Naylor couldn’t say if KRMC will try to raise money for the schools next year, but the issue opened her eyes.
“It’s an annual issue,” she said. “It’s not going to go away.”
Because proper nutrition is vital for optimal learning, the KUSD governing board voted years ago that no student in any grade can be denied a meal because the student’s food account carries a balance.
“Many families do not qualify for assistance through the National School Lunch Program because they earn too much gross income but still may have financial hardships that leave them unable to pay for school lunches,” said Tonya Green, Administrative Assistant for KUSD Nutrition Services.
“This means so much, not only to me and to the students, but also to their families,” said Alex Mayo, KUSD Food Service Director. “It means that they can watch their children walk across that stage and complete one of the biggest accomplishments of their lives. As someone who was born and raised in Kingman, seeing this kind of generosity gives me faith and hope in our community.”
Anyone wanting to help can donate with a debit or credit card online at www.kusd.org or with cash or check at the KUSD Nutrition Services Central Kitchen at 3174 Rutherford St.
Daily Miner reporter Aaron Ricca contributed to this report