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Church Hill student raises $128 so classmates won't go without lunch

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTOR • Updated Sep 16, 2015 at 5:40 PM

CHURCH HILL - Myka Coward, fourth grade student at Church Hill Elementary School, has a lemonade stand each summer to raise money for her classmates.

The money goes in a fund and if a child does not have lunch money or is unable to charge a meal, this fund provides for the child. Cafeteria manager, Tammy Somer recently received $128 from Myka.

That's nearly three times as much as Myka contributed last year.

Below is a Times-News article from Aug. 14, 2014 about why Myka started this project:

Church Hill third-grader raises funds to ensure classmates get hot lunches

JEFF BOBO

[email protected]

CHURCH HILL — Myka Coward knows what it’s like when lunchtime rolls around and you don’t have the money for a hot school lunch.

When the Church Hill Elementary third-grader opened a lemonade stand this past July in the parking lot of her apartment complex, she had already decided she would put the proceeds to good use for her classmates at lunchtime.

This past week Myka donated the $46 she earned from her lemonade stand to the CHES cafeteria.

The funds will be used to pay for school lunches for any child who finds himself or herself with empty pockets come noontime.

The fundraiser was inspired by an experience Myka had at the end of the 2013-14 school year in May.

She went to lunch one Friday and was told that there was no money in her cafeteria account.

When a student can’t afford a hot lunch, Hawkins County Schools provide what is called a “brown bag” so that the student doesn’t go hungry.

“All I got was a cheese sandwich, an apple, and a couple of crackers,” Myka said.

She can’t remember what she missed on the menu that day, but she’s certain it was better than a cheese sandwich.

Myka’s mother, Randa Sturgill, takes the blame for Myka’s bad lunch experience. It was at the end of the school year and Sturgill had forgotten to put money on her daughter’s cafeteria account.

“They don’t do charges after a certain time at the end of the school year,” Sturgill said. “It just happened to be at the end of the year and I had forgotten it was a Friday and I was supposed to put money on the account that morning. She got in the car (after school) and was telling me she had to get a brown bag, and I was like, ‘oh man.’”

But from adversity sometimes springs great inspiration.

Myka’s unfortunate lunch experience inspired her to take steps to ensure that no Church Hill Elementary student ever has to take a “brown bag” again.

During the Fourth of July holiday weekend she set up a “Country Time” lemonade stand for the sole purpose of raising money for the school cafeteria.

“After we talked about it she decided she would like to donate money so that she or anyone else can always get a hot lunch,” Sturgill said. “I posted (the lemonade stand) on Facebook, and a lady from Claypool Hill, Va., re-posted, it. There was somebody from the Claypool Hill area in Kingsport who drove all the way up to Church Hill just to give her $5 just to donate to the cause. She didn’t even want any lemonade.”

Myka’s favorite subject in school is science and she wants to be an inventor when she grows up. Inventors always need funding, and Myka is already sharpening her fundraising skills.

Sturgill added, “She does plan to raise more money for the cafeteria this year doing different things. She’s going to do a 5K in December, and she’s got some businesses that are going to sponsor her. She wants to keep it going.”

Myka donated the $46 to CHES cafeteria manager Barbara Bradley.

Brown bags aren’t required very often because at CHES, unless it’s the end of the school year, students are given a certain amount of credit if their cafeteria fund runs out.

Myka’s $46 contribution will purchase 23 hot lunches, which is expected to be enough to last the entire school year.

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