PORT CLINTON, Ohio — An anonymous donor paid off the school lunch debts of every Port Clinton, Ohio student, from kindergarten to 12th grade, during “Random Acts of Kindness Week” last month.
According to school officials, the donation was more than $500, helping to pay off the lunch debts of 158 students.
While the donor wishes to remain anonymous, the gesture was made in memory of the person’s favorite retired “lunch lady,” Ruth Vogt, who died in late January.
Vogt worked at the Port Clinton High School cafeteria for 20 years before retiring in 1998.
Her daughter, Martha Vogt Snyder, a teacher at Bataan Memorial Elementary School, said that whenever her mother was working the cash register, she would take spare change out of her own pocket to help out any kids who came up short for lunch.
“She was a very kind and generous soul,” Snyder said.
The donation in her memory, Snyder said, was "an incredible act of kindness and a wonderful gesture for our mom.”
“We don’t know who this donor is, but whoever thought of this kind gift really knew our mother well,” she said. “We want them to know that our mom is smiling down on them.”
The mystery donor simply made a call to the school district, asked about unpaid lunch balances, and offered to pay for them — all of them.
Superintendent Pat Adkins said the district has never had anyone make a donation of that kind before.
“It was a really cool thing,” he said. “It was a neat way to do it.”