Two Ambridge residents are spreading the holiday cheer this season by paying it forward to students in the Ambridge Area School District.
On Wednesday morning, two residents stopped by the District Food Services offices to pay off lunch balances for all elementary schools and the junior high school. While both men originally requested anonymity, Yurkovac agreed to speak about his donation in the hopes that others in the community would be inspired to step forward and consider doing the same to help those closest to home. The other donor has released information on his social media accounts, but did not authorize the District to release his name at this time.
Yurkovac said he had the idea to pay off lunch balances after he read a story about someone paying off overdue library fines for a student at one of the local libraries. His wife, Tina, agreed it was a great idea, so he contacted the District to make the offer. “Both my wife and I were on the free and reduced lunch program at one time during our time at Ambridge, so we know what that’s like,” he said. “It got me to thinking that at this time of year, everyone is focused on helping as many people as possible, so they think about the big charities in an effort to help as many as they can. But when we do that, sometimes our own neighborhood can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. We wanted to make our donation a little closer to home.”
At the Junior High, 90 students were helped, for a total of $500 in negative lunch balances, according to District Food Services Director Janet Gaffney. At the elementary schools, a total of 215 students were helped for a total of $796 in negative lunch balances. While the negative lunch balances have been paid off at the elementary and junior high schools, Gaffney noted that the Senior High School still carries a negative lunch balance of $1,320.38.
Gaffney said this is the first time in her 25 years as the food services director for the District that anyone has come forward to pay off lunch balances. “I am so moved and grateful to have been a part of this experience of having two of our parents come forward in this giving act of generosity; to see firsthand the spirit of giving is still alive and well in the AASD,” she said.