MADISON – A Madison faith-based group is paying the debt on all outstanding meal balances owed by students in the Madison City Schools system. The donation will help over 1,300 students.
Deborah and Larry Ward, who operate Inside-Out Ministries in Madison said the $21,000 payment is their way to honor outgoing superintendent Robby Parker and thank him for all the ways he has helped others throughout his career in education.
“Inside-Out Ministries is excited to fund this payoff of outstanding lunch accounts to allow the students and the schools to move forward in 2020 without concern,” said Deborah Ward, director of Operations of Inside-Out Ministries. “It is a gift of love from our Board of Directors to Madison City students.”
She said with the news of Parker’s retirement coming as we they processing this donation, they felt it fitting to remember his caring service for the students by making this donation to honor his love for Madison City Schools. “Which is also motivated by God’s love for him,” Ward added. “Mr. Parker has been welcoming and supportive of Inside-Out Ministries efforts to meet the needs of students and families within the school system and we are grateful for the positive relationship over the years.”
Marty Tatara, CNP Coordinator for Madison City Schools, said the program is overwhelmed and grateful for the donation. “It is by far the largest we have received since MCS was founded in 1998. We have always been committed to feeding all children a full meal, whether they have money or not when they come through the lunch line. Despite the financial burden, we do this because nutrition is essential for learning.”
The ministry handed over the check at the Jan. 23 school board meeting. Ward expressed hope the donation will help raise awareness of those in our own community who struggle meeting life’s essentials.
Parker was visibly moved and humbled by the gift in his honor and said the school district’s CNP program has always made sure students don’t go hungry if they don’t have the money to pay for a meal.
Deborah and Larry Ward said the Inside-Out Ministries Board is happy to “clean out” the program’s debt balance.
“God has blessed and provided for Inside-Out Ministries and has given us direction to give in his name to bless those around us,” Ward said. “Providing food as one of life’s basic needs meets our 12-year mission objective. Supporting Madison City Schools’ efforts to feed students, without question, is one way we continue to reach out to our community. No matter a city’s income level, there are needs and we hope this donation brings an awareness and many offers of help. Most of us can look in our wallets and find more than $16, and this amount per student can make a difference in keeping our Madison City children fed.”