A dozen Mount Airy City Schools students and their families got a free Christmas dinner thanks to their school bus drivers.
MACS and the dozen bus drivers in the district picked one student per bus to receive a meal, courtesy of donations from the drivers and matching fund from the school system.
It all started with a request for no gifts, according to Carrie Venable, public information officer.
The bus drivers have a tradition of getting a gift for their boss, transportation coordinator Jon Doss. This year he asked that they not spend their hard-earned money getting something for him.
Instead, the drivers took it upon themselves to redirect that money toward a worthy cause. They decided to pick a student at random and provide a meal for the family.
By the time Doss caught wind of the idea, the donations had reached high enough to fund two meals instead of one. So, Doss suggested that one child be selected from the Tharrington/Jones routes and one from the middle school/high school ranks.
The random drawings were held, and Doss had two names. Wanting to have a better idea of how big the families were, Doss went to the central office to learn more about these children.
Jason Dorsett, chief operations ofﬁcer, was very impressed by this generous project. He said he would work with the district to see about getting a matching fund. That way one child could be picked from each of the four schools.
The idea kept growing and growing, and before long the funding was enough to help one family per bus driver.
Additional names were drawn, and school guidance counselors helped with family sizes. Meanwhile, the drivers were kept in the dark about all the additional children who would be helped.
Dorsett said that arrangements were made with Walmart to prepare cooked meals with all the fixings.
On the last day of school for the semester, the school system holds a Christmas lunch for the drivers. While the folks were all together, Doss announced that not two, but 12 families would be getting a free meal. The drivers were thrilled with the news and eager to put the plan in motion.
After the meal, the drivers went to Walmart to pick up the meals, then delivered them to the families, who were also caught unaware.
“Mount Airy City Schools has a wonderful history of helping others,” said Dorsett. “All across our district employees are seeking ways to offer a helping hand, and I am extremely proud of Mr. Doss and our team of bus drivers.”
When she learned of the efforts taken by her staff, Dr. Kim Morrison, superintendent, stated, “Our district takes seriously the motto to Lead and Innovate to Serve. Our bus drivers have gone above and beyond again to serve our students. We are proud of their heart and know that this shows what is great about Mount Airy City Schools.”
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.