Deerfield Academy donates $25K to Frontier, Union 38 meal program

  • Deerfield Academy administration building. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Monday, January 04, 2021

DEERFIELD — Deerfield Academy donated $25,000 last week to the Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts to help reduce the funding gap in the meal program that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thank Deerfield Academy for their timely and generous donation,” Superintendent Darius Modestow said in a statement. “I also want to thank our dedicated kitchen staff, who worked tirelessly to get healthy meals out to all those in need during this challenging time.”

Before the pandemic, students paid for food unless they qualified for free or reduced-price meals. Now, breakfast and lunch are free to all district students as part of a program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which started when the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the nation.

Business Administrator Shelley Poreda said the school districts receive reimbursement from the state and federal governments, but it is not enough to avoid a deficit.

Earlier this month, Poreda anticipated around $100,000 less in revenue.

Head of School John Austin said Deerfield Academy learned of the districts’ financial situation through an article in The Recorder.

Austin said after seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the financial model over the last eight months, they recognized “there was a need.”

“If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that communities need to stay together and to help one another. We were really happy to contribute, even modestly, to help meet the shortfall the school is experiencing, so they don’t have to dig into other programs for the kids.”

Modestow said the funds would be divided between the Deerfield Elementary School and Frontier Regional High School.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com.