Since 2019, Kansas school meal debt has increased nearly 600% to an average of $23.5 million across the state, according to The Wichita Eagle. Pittsburg Community Schools USD 250 does not surpass these statistics.
“There are many different circumstances in which a family may not be able to meet the financial requirements for free or reduced meals, but also cannot cover the expense of meals,” USD 250 Director of Nutritional Services, Summer Warren said. “However, it is required that schools keep record of meal accounts and track debt.”
On Tuesday, October 10, 2023 members of Pittsburg State University’s Sigma Chi Fraternity met with Warren and Superintendent of Schools Richard Proffitt to present a check paying off all existing lunch debt throughout USD 250.
“We wanted to make a positive and substantial impact on the community of Pittsburg,” President of Sigma Chi, Jayke Welcher said. “Even though most of our active Fraternity brothers are not from Pittsburg, this area has become home to many of us. We are very grateful to the community of Pittsburg and have always wanted to show our gratitude in a large way.”
To accomplish their goals the Fraternity hosted a live auction within the UClub at Pittsburg State on September 23, 2023 and was able to raise a large amount of money for several different causes.
“Our goal was to make enough money to help not only one organization, but to raise enough to help multiple. With the help of many, we did just that,” Welcher said. “While being able to pay off all of USD 250’s school lunch debt, we were also able to donate to a family of a Sigma Chi brother in another chapter whose life was tragically taken in a car accident, we also had an opportunity to donate to another local Greek Organization for a member’s mom battling cancer, and we had the chance to donate to The Huntsman Cancer Research Institute, which is our own philanthropy.”
USD 250 is grateful for the hard work and donation from Sigma Chi that will benefit the district greatly
“This was a tremendous surprise,” Proffitt said. “It is very touching to know that a group of young men are working to make a difference in the community that they live in. We are honored that they chose to partner with us.”
The money donated will bring all student lunch accounts back into good standing, relieving the debt for those families who may not be able to cover the outstanding payments.
“We thought giving back and helping the families in need in our area would be a great representation of who we are as men and as Sigma Chi’s,” Welcher said. “We hope to build off of this and to create relationships with the City of Pittsburg and beyond.”