SUFFERN, Rockland County (WABC) -- A Rockland County police department is providing an example of how one act of kindness can spark other acts of kindness.
Police in Suffern are paying off more than $1500 in lunch money that students owed their elementary school.
And because of that, others want to do the same thing at other schools.
The students at RP Connor Elementary School in Suffern have no idea they are the beneficiaries of a rather substantial gift.
It comes from the Suffern Police Department's D.A.R.E. program, which contributed money to pay off the lunch meal balances for hundreds of students.
"It's huge," said parent Jen Haas. "I mean parents, we're all struggling every now and then financially. And to not have to worry about whether their child is going to eat lunch is a huge deal."
It was Suffern's police chief who came up with the idea. That's not surprising, considering Clark Osborn served 10 years as the school's D.A.R.E. officer and 13 years as a school board member.
Many years ago, he attended RP Connor Elementary School.
"I feel like we are getting the biggest blessing," said Osborn. "And even doing something for us like this is great just to show people that there are so many things you can do outside the box. This is not a normal thing to do, we know."
Word has spread about the D.A.R.E. program's generosity. Potential donors in nearby Sloatsburg and Montebello have already inquired about footing the school lunch bill in their communities.
Principal Kelly Benadi told us that's a win-win for everyone.
"That's the message - be kind, be nice, help other people," said Benadi. "We are a community. We all have to help each other."
The D.A.R.E. money directed for the school lunches program does not mean other year-round D.A.R.E. events will suffer. In fact, the Police Chief believes the message of this act of kindness will only generate more revenue for the program.
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Be Kind: Police payment of kids' school lunch debt sparks other acts of kindness