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Community foundation pays off Oregon-Davis student debts

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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HAMLET, Ind. (WNDU) - The Starke County Community Foundation is helping Oregon-Davis School Corp. help the families they serve. SCCF awarded the district a $25,000 grant to eliminate unpaid student fees that had accumulated over the past school year, as many families have faced economic hardship during the pandemic.

“When you have a lot of people who are in the service industry, and rely on those type of jobs, and when you know when in-house dining is not available or wasn’t available for the longest time, it - we did see an impact to our parents,” explained Superintendent William Bennett.

SCCF made the $25,000 grant possible thanks to the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund.

“The credit really goes to Jim Hardesty. He started the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund. He has since passed away, but he lived in Hamlet and really cared about the Hamlet area,” said Jessica Martinović, of the Starke County Community Foundation.

Had it not been for the SCCF swooping in, Bennett said they would have had to apply for a state program that allows a school district to garnish families’ state tax refunds to pay for outstanding fees.

“Being able to do that at a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty and a lot of feelings of being overwhelmed so now where they don’t have to worry about that is just - I’m grateful to be part of an organization that can be behind those efforts,” said Jaque Ryan, of the Starke County Community Foundation.

Bennett said the district is grateful to have received the grant.

“We are very blessed to have a donor in the community that is willing to make that investment in the children because it takes us all to get it done,” he said.

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