BY CAMERON PROBERT
OCTOBER 14, 2017 2:59 PM
What started as a conversation between the founder of a popular Washington restaurant chain and his mother will help buy lunches for Richland students.
Mark Eggen, the man behind Hop Jack’s, and his mother were talking about the stigma attached to students receiving free and reduced lunch when she was in school.
“At the time there was a special line you had to go in and even specific items you were allowed to choose from,” said Jaime Fox, the restaurant’s director of training, safety and charities. “Mark began to think about this and decided that our restaurant company could make an impact.”
Hop Jack’s decided to donate 50 cents of every children’s meal it sold to help hungry kids, similar to its program that donates 25 cents of every beer to community charities.
“We did not want to donate to large, nationwide organizations where we would never know where the money went and where there is often a lot of overhead costs,” Fox said.
Richland School District is one of 13 beneficiaries statewide, receiving $4,300 since joining the program in January. It will use the money to help students who wouldn’t otherwise get lunch, whether they are just short on funds in their lunch accounts, or their families are struggling but don’t qualify for the federal free lunch program.