The Education Foundation has raised $31,000 to provide meals for Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District students in need while school is out.

Since March 16, local businesses and individuals contributed to two initiatives the Education Foundation is supporting: the Weekend Food Program, and meals for students during spring break.

“We don’t know how long this situation will last, and we want to make sure students aren’t going hungry while schools are closed,” explained Amber Kiggens-Leifheit, executive director of the Education Foundation. “With 18 percent of MCPASD students receiving free or reduced lunch, many families in our district benefit from extra food being sent home.”

The Weekend Food Program is a partnership between the MCPASD and five local churches: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, St. Bernard Catholic Church, St. Martin’s Catholic Church, Middleton Community Church and West Middleton Lutheran Church. The free program currently serves about 200 elementary and middle school students. Volunteers fill backpacks of snacks and small meals for students each Friday, and school social workers coordinate distribution.

Donors’ contributions help ensure the program will continue as long as it’s needed. The Education Foundation also collected donations to support the district’s efforts to provide meals to students over spring break.

“Earlier this week, our understanding was that federal funding would not extend to students’ meals over spring break,” said Purna Byraiah, chair of the Education Foundation. “Fortunately, we learned today the federal government will reimburse the district for some of these costs. Yet with schools closed indefinitely, we expect to see more families with financial hardships.”

“We may use some of the funds raised to cover negative meal balances for families needing assistance,” added Kiggens-Leifheit. “We’re grateful for the generosity of local businesses and community members who contributed, and we give special thanks to the Middleton Endowment for their $3,500 donation.”

“When the Middleton Endowment learned of the need to feed hungry children during this crisis, funding the meals for students was unquestionably the best use of the Endowment’s resources,” said Paul Kinne, chair of the Middleton Endowment. “Our goal at the Middleton Endowment is to enhance the quality of life in the Middleton area for present and future generations. We are proud to be part of a team with the MCPASD Education Foundation to help our community get through these difficult times.”

Online contributions can be made by clicking the yellow Donate button on our website and selecting “Meals for Kids During School Closure” to designate a donation.