March 2018 at the Deaconess Assembly, Dr. Dave Webb, superintendent of the South St. Paul Public Schools, sat in the back of the room and waited patiently to share stories from his district as the Deaconess Community worked on a resolution to benefit the school district. The Spirit was moving!
Dr. Webb came to the Assembly to share in the presentation of the Deaconess Community’s Mission Grant Partners from Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, Pastors Amanda Olson de Castillo and Patrick Joiner.
Luther Memorial applied for and received a Mission Support grant for their Safe Place Youth Program. With the police and other local leaders, the church and school district came together during a community crisis to respond to needs and provide youth programming during school vacation days.
From this partnership, the Deaconess Community learned that many families who pay a reduced-lunch fee carry an outstanding balance that they are not able to pay. This is a national issue, which demonstrates the food scarcity impacting our children in a nation with food abundance (See Food, Farms, Faith).
At the Assembly that day, the Deaconess Community voted to give the offerings from the Assembly to pay off these balances and to pay any remaining amount out of the Deaconess Community’s budget.
In late July 2018, Sr. Noreen Stevens, directing deaconess of the Deaconess Community, presented Dr. Webb and Glen Ritte, nutrition services director, with a check for $7,070.00. The balance due is now zero!
“I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for your support of the families in South St. Paul Schools that were unable to pay for their kid’s meal balances. This will be a huge blessing for our SSP families that are just above the cut-off line for ‘Free and Reduced’ meals! Thanks for your leadership and partnership. Blessings.”– Dr. Dave Webb