Everybody Eats, a Cambridge food service program funding student meals, is continuing to fundraise with a January chili dinner.

The district-wide program pays for the meals of students that might need it. Food and Nutrition Director Janice Murray created the program during the 2018-19 school year, and it served about 40 Cambridge students in its first year.

“This is a community-funded program which many families rely on. No student is turned away from eating because of a negative balance, which makes our school district very unique and blessed,” Murray said.

The school district will be holding a chili dinner to fundraise on Jan. 28 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Cambridge High School.

Chili and chicken noodle soup will be served out of handmade ceramic bowls made by Cambridge students and local artists. Those bowls will be for sale. Cornbread, salad and dessert are also on the menu.

Last year’s Feb. 14 chili dinner made about $4,000 for Everybody Eats, Murray said.

“The support of the community has been amazing and we hope to keep this program going for many years to come,” she wrote in an email.

The money raised at the chili dinner will be used to pay off negative meal account balances of district students.

The program covers second helpings for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, Murray said. Those second helpings aren’t included in government funding the district receives.

Everybody Eats also pays for the meals and seconds of students who didn’t qualify for free and reduced lunch, often by a small margin, and may still need the program. Breakfasts and summer school lunches are also included.

The program, run entirely through donations, cost about $3,200 to operate in its first year.

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