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Anonymous donor pays off $6,000 in school lunch debts

An anonymous donor paid off $6,000 in school lunch debt at Duncan Falls Elementary in Muskingum County, Ohio. (WSYX/WTTE)

MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - There's a buzz lately at Duncan Falls Elementary in Muskingum County.

"I was just in shock and awe," said parent Trista Bertke.

Bertke has three kids at the school and also works in the cafeteria.

She came in early last week to erase around $6,000 worth of school lunch debt from the system, all thanks to an anonymous donor.

"It is just something beyond words. A lot of families have struggled this time of year," she said.

The call came in that a community member wanted to help the school, where more than half the students are on free and reduced lunch.

"This person, I still don't know who they are today," said Principal Dustan Henderson.

The principal said kids will never be turned away from lunch; instead, their accounts are charged.

"[I] just want to say thank you," said Henderson.

He's now getting calls from thankful parents.

"(They) said that would allow them to use that money for other things that they had been kind of putting off to the side. So, it helps out," he said.

It's the kind of thing that can inspire a community.

"When there is a need, somebody always steps forward," said Rick Campbell, who owns the local market.

People often gather at Campbell's Market in town; these days the talk is that this donation will go a long way to help struggling families.

"Sometimes it is a day-to-day situation for the kids to acquire their lunch," said Campbell.

It is an act of kindness lifting up a community.

Duncan Falls Elementary is part of the Franklin Local School District.

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