SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (KCAU) — Shortly after her son’s school sent out an e-mail saying they were having trouble with students’ lunch accounts, Debra McKeever came up with a plan to help.
“And I started thinking, how hard could this be,” asked McKeever.
McKeever spread the word that Spirit Lake school needed donations. She spoke with local churches, community members, and civic groups and soon started an account made up of donations called Lunch4Kids.
“It was slow at first. We were able the first year to almost give $1,000 to Spirit Lake schools,” said McKeever.
Student lunch accounts start to accumulate when children grab food from the cafeteria but can’t afford to pay for it.
McKeever thinks no kid should ever have to go hungry, so whatever price the school gave her, she made sure she had enough money to cover it.
“We were doing very well, we were getting very generous donations in, we were getting a lot of awareness,” McKeever said.
That’s when McKeever helped out another school, in Okoboji.
“Their fiscal officer indicated yeah, we definitely have a need, and that year we were able to give them a little over 700 dollars and the year following that they needed almost 1900 dollars and we had those funds,” said McKeever.
Despite what she does to help pay off lunch accounts, McKeever also is a vital part of the Spirit Lake Backpack Program.
“Backpacks are something I had never heard of until my son went to school and then I checked with the guidance counselor and she said yeah, we definitely have a backpack program and I could use your help. So that has grown over the years as well,” said McKeever.
A number of people that prepare lunches for the backpacks. McKeever takes the collection of backpacks and delivers them to the school.
“To be at the school before picking up my child when I can see kids getting their backpacks out and they’re like oh, I got a peanut butter granola bar! And they look happy. It’s a good feeling definitely,” McKeever said.
Debra has raised a total of $9,000 worth of donations over the past five years.