Donation pays off Hamilton Southeastern students’ outstanding lunch bills


A donation of more than $25,000 means that about 1,200 Hamilton Southeastern Schools students will no longer owe the district lunch money.

According to a Jan. 17 announcement from the district, students with outstanding balances have been notified that their meal accounts were paid off. 

“This action was made possible in part by a large donation from the Food for Thought Community Fund, created by a local community member who is dedicated to supporting insecurity needs for students and families within HSE Schools,” the announcement stated.

The debt, totaling $25,107.18, was paid for students who qualify for the National School Lunch Program (Free and Reduced Benefits).

The Food for Thought Community Fund was established in 2021 and is managed by the Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation.

“Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation is thrilled to be able to help alleviate this burden from families,” HSEF Executive Director Justin Hirnisey stated. “This is the second time HSEF has been able to eliminate debt for students who are a part of free- and reduced-price benefits.”

The fund also supports Fishers Youth Assistance Program’s Snack Attack and Summer Meals for HSE students. Hirnisey stated that the efforts would not be possible without generous donors and the support of the community.

“We are thankful for every donation, big or small we receive,” Director of Food Services Karen Ogden stated. “We also would be remiss to not acknowledge the kindness of HSE families who have ‘paid it forward’ by contributing the remaining balance of their graduating students’ meal accounts to helping others.”

For more about the fund, visit