(CBSNEWS) – A school district in Maine has received a generous donation from an anonymous donor to help pay off students’ school lunch debts. Westbrook schools superintendent Peter Lancia said he received a $10,000 check from an anonymous donor on Monday, which would erase a big chunk of the $17,000 owed by families in the district for student lunches.

School officials say the three elementary schools in the district have about $10,000 in lunch money debt, the middle school has around $6,000 in debt, and the rest comes from the high school, CBS affiliate WGME reports. School officials say they would rather face debt than have a child go hungry.

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“We want to be able to feed all of our students regardless of their circumstance or regardless of their family situation, but at the same time we have to balance the books and pay the bills, and make sure we are responsible within our communities,” Lancia said last week.

Lancia said the district is trying to reduce the debt through a variety of avenues, including donations. It appears one donor heard the call for help and stepped up in a major way.

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Lunch at local elementary and middle schools costs approximately $2.30 per meal, so the $10,000 donation is equivalent to more than 4,300 meals at that level.

Lancia says the donor does not want to be identified, but wanted to help families with unpaid accounts.

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