CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Barrett Financial Group donated $50,000 Wednesday to pay off students' lunch debt in the Chandler Unified School District.
"I just can't tell you how this $50,000 will relieve a lot of pressure on a lot of families," said Chandler Unified School District superintendent Camille Casteel. "(It) cost about 5 dollars a day for a family to feed each of their children. That's 900 dollars per child a year. You can see for many families that is a hardship."
The Chandler Unified School District won't turn any child away for lunch, but by law, they need to keep track of who doesn't pay. Thanks to this donation, debt for all of those families will soon be wiped out.
"We will be able to use the funds to help those families who were in need and in the future help children who can't afford those school lunches but need it when they come to school, so we're really excited," said Lana Berry, the chief financial officer for the Chandler Unified School District.
When Barrett Financial Group reached out to Casteel about paying off the debt, she thought it was a joke. In her 50 years in the district, Casteel never got a call like that.
"Never has an organization called and said I want to donate 50,000 dollars to the children, especially those who need their meals paid for," Casteel said. "So giving, to give back to the children in this community, it was just overwhelming."
"I think it's amazing. The employees here truly have a heart for this community," said Berry.