At ACPS, we would never refuse a hungry student a meal, but like many school divisions across the United States, that has left us carrying significant lunch debt.
But thanks to the generosity of Jay and Arline Hoffman of the Hoffman Company, that debt, which stood at $60,000, has now been slashed.
The couple has paid off $18,500, clearing every cent from the negative balances held at T.C. Williams High School and Minnie Howard Campus.
They handed over a check to T.C. Principal Peter Balas last week.
We are extremely thankful to Jay and Arline Hoffman for their generosity,” said Balas.
“By donating to clear all negative balances on student lunch accounts for Titans in grades 9-12, they have helped to ensure all our students have access to high quality and nutritious food while in school. Studies repeatedly show the importance of nutrition on academic success,” he added.
ACPS offers free breakfast and/or lunch for eligible students as part of the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act which is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
The USDA also offers a program in which all students at an individual school automatically qualify for free lunch if more than 40% of children are from homes receiving food stamps or welfare.
All students receive free breakfast and lunch at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology and William Ramsay Elementary School. Free breakfast is also offered to all students at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary, James K. Polk Elementary, John Adams Elementary, Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School, Patrick Henry K-8 School and Francis C. Hammond Middle School.
A spokesperson for the couple said the Hoffmans hoped others would also come forward to donate.
“Jay and Arline Hoffman, longtime residents of Alexandria, have made it a priority to make an impact on Alexandria’s youth. Arline Hoffman grew up in Alexandria and attended George Washington High School [before it became a middle school].”
“The Hoffmans feel strongly that every child in Alexandria should be provided a free breakfast and lunch at school. When the Hoffmans learned of the significant debt owed to the school related to student lunches, they wanted to relieve those students of the obligation.”
“The Hoffmans are also responsible for recently providing the funds to William Ramsay Elementary School for school uniforms for the entire student body. The Hoffmans hope that others will follow suit in donating to Alexandria City Public Schools.”