Utah business owner pays off a West Jordan school lunch credit

Nov 7, 2022, 6:09 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2022, 1:27 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — The inflation crisis is taking a toll on families trying to afford to pay for their kids’ lunches. That’s what one West Jordan Elementary school is witnessing, and that’s why the principal is so thankful for a donor who has stepped in to help.

Westvale Elementary School has about 500 students, and according to the principal, Odette Desmarais, there are dozens of students whose families can’t afford to buy them lunch. These are families who don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s absolutely heartbreaking,” said Desmarais to KSL TV. “I would never be able to handle the idea of students not eating. That’s a really tough idea.”

That’s why no student is turned away. The cost of the meal is put on credit. But within days, that $1.75 per meal multiplies and begins to add up to hundreds of dollars.

That’s why Tua Kealoha and his friends came to Westvale Elementary for a visit.

“The biggest thing I wanted to do is to give back. I just wanted to be an example,” Kealoha explained. As a result, he’s donating $600.

Utah private security business owner, Tua Kealoha, writing the $600 check. (KSL-TV)

Kealoha runs his own private security business and came to pay off the lunch deficit that’s racked up in the last two months.

“It absolutely melts my heart. It truly does to know there are people in the community to help kids out,” Desmarais expressed.

But this isn’t the first school Kealoha has donated to, this is the 5th school he’s paid off the lunch deficit in the last six weeks.

“I just started making phone calls and see if we could pay off debts and I just chose neighborhoods,” Kealoha said.

Fortunately, this week his generosity led him to Westvale Elementary School, and this is not his last stop. He plans to continue to donate at other schools.

“I believe all kids should eat for free, but that’s not the case. That’s why we are raising money to help ease the pain, especially for the holidays,” Kealoha said.

The Jordan School District reminds all families who believe they may qualify for free or reduced lunch to contact their school administrators and fill out the paperwork.

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Utah business owner pays off a West Jordan school lunch credit